Deterrent or Toy?
Yesterday I was in Boston, Lincolnshire representing RABI at a social care initiative launch hosted by First Contact. It was a great opportunity to meet other organisations within the third sector and make them aware of the support services that RABI have to offer.
Lincolnshire Police also had a stand at the event and when I found the opportunity I went over to have a chat with them. I wanted to talk to them about road safety issues and rural crime as during my year as agriculture and rural affairs chairman for NFYFC I want to focus on some of these topics. It suddenly occured to me from reading the Farmers Weekly a few weeks ago that it was the Lincolnshire Police force who have recently received a donation of a John Deere 'police' tractor sponsored by JD and the NFU. I had to enquire about it!
Low and behold the tractor was parked outside on the market square so I got very excited and wanted to have my photo taken with it - naturally!
But on a serious note, is this tractor going to be a deterrent for rural crime or is it simply another gimic or toy for the police force to play with? The tractor drew a large crowd to the market place and people were asking all sorts of silly and daft questions like 'has it been involved in a high speed car chase yet? ' and 'how fast does it go, about 90MPH?'
I think the initiative together with farm and business countrywatch is great for raising awareness of rural crime issues, especially in the Lincolnshire area where numerous tractors have been stolen recently. Everywhere the tractor has appeared it has created lots of excitement and drawn a good crowd. However are people taking it seriously or do they think it is a joke? And it is delivering the correct message to the right people? After all, the people suffering from rural crime are generally working hard on the farm, not shopping in local town centres. I'm going to keep tabs on this scheme to see how effective it is, I'm just glad that the police force are looking forward at ways to tackle rural crime.