The new kit is funded through the Rural Crime Project from PCC (Police and Crime Commissioner) Jonathan Evison and includes new all-terrain vehicles to enable quick and easy access to farmland, as well as thermal imaging cameras, nano-trackers and specialist property marking and DNA kits.
New automatic-number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras will also be used at strategic locations across the rural road network.
The new Rural Crime Project was launched at this year’s Driffield Show in Yorkshire and was created in partnership with the NFU, East Riding and North Lincolnshire council and the PCC.
Dedicated rural crime teams
Sergeant Kevin Jones from the Rural Task Force added there were also plans to organise days of action around rural crime hotspots to ensure victims and vulnerable members of the community receive the new crime prevention products.
“This project will have a huge impact on how we tackle these incidents, and also means that we can provide people in our rural communities with new ways to protect their property in the event of a theft,” he said.
The Rural Task Force was established during 2021 and was expanded following the success of its dedicated team.
“Farming communities have faced fear and intimidation from groups of criminals and this has a severe impact on agricultural businesses.”
NFU Chief Land Management adviser Sam Durham
PCC Jonathan Evison said the increase in officers has enabled the Chief Constable to created dedicated rural crime teams, but that they also need “the specialist equipment to help them cut crime and protect our rural areas”.
“I am delighted we have been able to part fund this project to help tackle rural crime in the East Riding and North Lincolnshire,” he added.
Chief Superintendent Darren Wildbor highlighted how “Humberside Police has worked tirelessly to tackle rural crime”, and said the new specialist equipment will further enhance the teams’ capability.
Sam Durham, NFU Chief Land Management adviser welcomed the news on the funding, highlighting the “severe impact” rural crime continues to have on the farming community.
Spike in GPS theft
The funding comes amid a surge in the theft of tractor GPS units. The technology plays a vital role in modern farming and thefts of systems can take time to replace, causing delays during busy periods such as harvest.
NFU York East county adviser Poppy Arnett said this was “causing tremendous problems at a time when supply chain issues mean they are not easy to replace”.
“Having access to off-road vehicles, thermal imaging monoculars and more support on crime prevention, will help NFU members and the wider rural community work with the police to tackle crime much more effectively and remind criminals that rural areas are not the soft targets they perhaps expect.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the partnership that has come together to put forward the bid for this funding.”
The project is run through the North Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership (CSP), which includes North Lincolnshire Council, Humberside Police, Humberside Fire and Rescue, Ongo, the National Probation Service, NHS Humber and North Yorkshire ICB and the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner.