The National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) is a group of Police and Crime Commissioners representing rural communities across England and Wales. The NFU sits on the Executive Board of the NRCN.
The NFU is pleased that, following the broadcast of How to Steal Pigs and Influence People on Channel 4, the NRCN asked Ofcom to investigate whether it has breached Rule 3.1 of the Broadcasting Code by broadcasting material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder.
The four UK farming unions have issued a joint statement ahead of the airing of the documentary. Read the statement here.
NRCN Chair Julia Mulligan wrote to Ofcom Interim Chief Executive Jonathan Oxley. In her letter she says:
“The National Pig Association and the four UK farming unions, including the NFU – who are NRCN members – are among those who expressed their worries to Channel 4 ahead of broadcast that the programme glamorised and condoned crime and violence in rural areas. The broadcaster insisted ‘the programme did not glamorise or condone illegal activity’.
“We do not agree.
“We believe the programme itself, and particularly the title and promotion ahead of broadcast, explicitly glamorises illegal activity and, therefore, we would be grateful if Ofcom would consider whether it has breached Rule 3.1 of the Broadcasting Code.
“We understand that broadcasters often give titles to programmes which are intended to create debate, but we believe this goes beyond that.
“Our most recent National Rural Crime Survey found over two-thirds of farmers and rural-specific business owners have been a victim of crime over the past 12 months and nearly half (48 per cent) saying their quality of life is being moderately or greatly affected by crime.
“Farmers are all too often living in fear of being targeted by crimes such as those seemingly normalised and glamorised by this programme. And farmers do not live on their farms on their own. Farms are home to families, they are at the heart of rural communities.
“Rural crime is not a joke. Offences must not be trivialised. Victims do not deserve to be belittled.”