A new initiative aimed at tackling rural crime has been launched.

The National Rural Crime Network (NRCN), endorsed by 18 of the UK’s police and crime commissioners (PCCs), has been set up to help tackle rural crime more effectively in England and Wales.

Another eight are considering joining the project, which would bring the total to about two-thirds of PCCs across both countries.

Once established, the network will provide an online resource for police, community safety practitioners and others to interact, share information, training development, access to case studies and link up with other mechanisms for reporting crime and suspicious behaviour in rural communities.

Julia Mulligan, Conservative PCC for North Yorkshire – the county with England’s largest rural police force – said: “Crime in rural areas accounts for a large proportion of North Yorkshire Police’s demand. There are significant pressures on rural police forces and by coming together, we will be able to speak in a strong and united voice.

“I am particularly pleased that the network also includes other organisations dedicated to rural communities. In this way, we should all be able to learn from one another and work collaboratively on new ideas and solutions that will benefit our local people.”

The idea for NRCN originated with the Rural Services Network, a not-for-profit organisation that represents a diverse range of rural service providers in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Rural Services Network officer Nick Payne said: “There is a common perception that rural crime is less significant than that occurring in cities and towns. The effect of rural crime is just as serious as it is elsewhere.”

Farmers Weekly, the CLA, the National Community Safety Network, the online crime reporting system “Facewatch” and other rural stakeholders are key partners in the initiative.

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