NFU underlines need for action on rural crime as costs reach highest in years

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Following April's announcement that the cost of rural crime in the UK rose to £44.5m in 2017, NFU Mutual's Rural Crime Report 2018 provides information on the worst hit areas, emerging crime trends and insight from people living and working on the frontline.

NFU Mutual's annual Rural Crime Report is based on claims data gathered from its 300 agent offices across the UK. It offers unique insights into the financial costs of rural crime, as well as the adverse impact it has on all those who live, work, farm and enjoy the countryside. 

The costs associated with agricultural vehicle, quad and ATV, and livestock theft all increased year on year from 2016 to 2017 with almost every region of the UK seeing a rise in rural crime. The Midlands and the South East are the areas seeing the highest costs and also the sharpest increases.

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NFU Deputy President Guy Smith said:

"Without doubt, rural crime is one of the most pressing, impactful and devastating issues farmers are dealing with at the moment.

“These figures emphasise the seriousness of this issue and the NFU continues to work with MPs, government and police to help them deliver solutions that allow farmers to do what they do best –producing food for the nation.

“The impacts are far-reaching. Farms are not only places of business, but they are also homes. With many farmers experiencing intimidation, violence, threats and criminal acts right on their doorstep, the need for measures to curb this activity has never been greater.

“As NFU Mutual figures show, the cost of rural crime is at its highest for years. That is why it is a top priority for the NFU, and why we are pushing this issue up the government agenda."

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As outlined in the NFU’s Combatting Rural Crime report, the NFU is calling for both government and police to:

  • Form a cross-departmental rural crime task force. This must ensure the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice and all relevant departments, including the Welsh Government, and the Departments for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Housing, Communities and Local Government work together with Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and police to address the failures in dealing with rural crime.1
  • Consult with all stakeholders to agree a definition of rural crime that can be used to inform consistent policy decisions and to enable accurate recording and target setting.
  • Secure more funding for research to understand rural crime and its links to organised criminal networks. And for the Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research to prioritise research on how organised crime groups are operating in rural areas in the UK.

It also asked for:

  • The Home Office to ensure fair funding for rural policing.
  • The Sentencing Council to review the range of rural crimes experienced by farming communities, and to ensure sentencing guidelines reflect the true cost and impact of these crimes, and contain up-to-date information about the penalties that act as a disincentive for these crimes.
  1. The NFU has facilitated a meeting in Cambridgeshire on Wednesday 8 August to bring together civil servants from the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Defra, with Crown Prosecutors, and representatives from the NPCC, PCCs and farmers also attending.

In partnership with the charity Crimestoppers, the NFU has launched a dedicated rural crime reporting line.

Farmers, rural businesses and the public can pass on their crime information about large-scale industrial fly-tipping, hare coursing, livestock theft and machinery theft. You will remain 100% anonymous. Always. Call 0800 783 0137 or visit

Find out more here.

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NFU members can benefit from discounts on a number of security products designed to help protect farm properties, including Datatag asset identification technologies, Armorgard storage solutions, Tracker vehicle recovery and Bushnell cameras.

Visit for more information.

Last edited on: 06:08:2018

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