Farmers must be eyes and ears for police to tackle crime effectively

First published: 19 October 2022

Police off road vehicle

Two farming organisations have pledged to forge a closer partnership with Thames Valley Police rural task force to further reduce crime in the countryside.

The NFU and the CLA met with the new team, which is headed up by Inspector Stuart Hutchings, at Kensham Farm, near High Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire on Monday 17 October. They held talks on how to make the Thames Valley an even more hostile environment for rural criminals.

Representatives of the two organisations heard that Thames Valley Police rural task force, which has been operational since April, has already demonstrated considerable success in its stop and search approach and in recovering stolen goods.

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire NFU chair Alex Nelms, who hosted the meeting at Kensham, said afterwards: “Thames Valley Police rural task force has recovered more than £1 million worth of stolen kit since the spring and has a very high, above average success rate with 50% of stop searches having a positive outcome. They have a proactive approach to tackling hare coursers and new legislation appears to have resulted in an increased number of prosecutions.

“But farmers must act as the ears and eyes for the Police in the countryside and report all crimes and all incidents, no matter how small, and even after the event, as the Police need intelligence. If they can identify trends, then they can alter shift patterns and allocate resources to address crime hotspots and issues.”

Tim Bamford, CLA South East Regional Director, said: “Thames Valley Police’s Rural Crime Taskforce is having an impact on crime, and we are pleased that officers are working closely and effectively with rural communities and organisations.

“The CLA is keen to continue working together, as there’s more still to do, but the task force’s work so far has been positive.

“We would also remind all victims of rural crime to report each incident, to help the police build up a true picture of the problems and then resource them accordingly.”

Both organisations have pledged to work with Thames Valley Police and encourage their members to remember the three Rs.

  • Report – report all incidents.
  • Record – record the serial numbers/frame numbers of all farm/plant machinery, and photograph equipment.
  • Review –regularly review farm and estate security.

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