The NFU today (8 August) hosted a rural crime roundtable meeting where government officials, police and farmers came together to discuss solutions to help tackle the increasing levels of crime in the countryside.
Bringing into being a key ask in the NFU’s Combatting Rural Crime report, the cross-party meeting laid out the issues farmers and rural businesses are facing and created an opportunity to discuss practical solutions that police and government can look to address.
The NFU continues to call for a consistent and co-ordinated approach between government departments. Representatives from the Home Office and Ministry of Justice heard directly from farmers about the impacts crime has on their businesses.
NFU Deputy President Guy Smith chaired the meeting. He said:
“This meeting is a fantastic opportunity to get high-ranking civil servants and police leads on rural crime into a room to work on practical solutions that can deliver for rural communities.
“This represents the first step in a permanent cross-government rural crime taskforce being formed, something the NFU called for in its Combatting Rural Crime report last year. We will continue to work towards that goal so that rural crime is consistently on the government agenda.
“It is vitally important that decision-makers hear first-hand from farmers about the devastating impacts crime can have on their businesses. Whether it is theft, hare coursing or fly-tipping, the effects can be long-lasting and can severely disrupt a farming business.
“As new figures show, the cost of rural crime is at its highest in years and the NFU will continue to work with MPs, Government and the police to tackle this blight on our countryside.”
The NFU has also launched a Rural Crime Reporting Line in partnership with Crimestoppers. The line allows farmers to anonymously give information about large-scale industrial fly-tipping, hare coursing, machinery theft and livestock theft by calling 0800 783 0137 or visiting www.ruralcrimereportingline.uk.