Back British Farming: the ways we're making rural crime a priority for those in power

Back British Farming Rural crime

A farmer reports fly-tipping on his land

Rural crime is a serious problem for our members and those who live and work in the countryside, with it costing the UK £54.3 million in 2019 alone. As part of the Back British Farming campaign this is a priority for the NFU all year round, but we stepped up our efforts as new Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) came into power.  

We continue to raise the issue at the highest levels of government as we call for rural England to be part of the Prime Minister’s Levelling Up strategy. 

Following our campaign work 50,000 members of the public signed a letter from the NFU that was sent to the new commissioners. It highlighted the devastating impact of crime in rural communities and the urgent need for a cross-departmental rural crime task force, which should support a joined-up government approach to address the failures in dealing with rural crime.  

Our work is ongoing, but this spell of campaigning saw our regional teams more than 35 PCCs to highlight local issues and action needed. Fly-tipping, sky lanterns, hare coursing, dog attacks and theft were all high up the agenda.  


  • Nearly 50,000 people signed a letter to Police and Crime Commissioners, calling on them to make rural crime a priority.  

Sky lanterns 

  • 17 leading farming, environment, animal and fire organisations signed a letter sent to Environment Minister Rebecca Pow in April 2021, calling for stronger legislation to ban sky lanterns nationally.   
  • To date, 174 councils have already banned sky lanterns thanks for our campaign work since 2013.  

Dog attacks  

  • Virginia Crosbie (MP for Ynys Môn) showed great support for this issue, and tabled a Bill in Parliament in July 2021 which seeks to introduce changes to legislation to help tackle livestock worrying. 
  • The next stage is for Virginia Crosbie to table an amendment to the Kept Animals Bill, which will address practical ways of managing dogs around livestock, such as putting dogs on a lead and clear signposting of fields. This is supported by the NFU and Kennel Club.   
  • Over 20,000 people signed an NFU petition, calling on newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to implement changes to legislation to prevent dog attacks on farm animals. Virginia spoke about the petition to show support for the Bill she tabled in Parliament. 
  • Building on work with the countryside code, we teamed up with the dogfather  Graeme Hall to remind dog owners to keep their dog on a lead. This message was seen by 816,000 people. 


  • We launched the Lock it or Lose it initiative to help members identify simple preventative measures to reduce the chance of becoming a victim of rural theft. 

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