Thames Valley Police (TVP) has launched a Rural Crime Taskforce in a bid to make the area a hostile environment for rural criminals.
The taskforce consists of a team of dedicated officers, as well as intelligence support, who will work with partners, drone units, and the Joint Operations Unit with Hampshire to tackle serious and organised rural crime in the south-east region.
TVP rural crime taskforce inspector Stuart Hutchings said: “The taskforce will make the Thames Valley a hostile place for anyone looking to commit rural crime.
“We now have a team of dedicated officers committed to making our rural communities safer, as well as staff waiting to take your call who are trained in the complexities of rural crime and its impacts. We will not tolerate rural crime.”
The taskforce is working to support rural communities to tackle crime in the Thames Valley region (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire). More than £400,000 worth of trailers, caravans and other equipment have been recovered by the team.
They have also been proactively working with the force’s forensic investigation unit to address rises in thefts from farms of GPS units within tractor satellite navigation systems.
Local policing areas across the Thames Valley have also seen the benefit of the taskforce, with the team supporting investigations into rural issues such as thefts and hare coursing.
The taskforce is also working with TVP’s economic crime unit to investigate the proceeds of crime, looking at money laundering and links between rural and organised crime.
The NFU said the taskforce announcement was welcome news for farmers and growers across the three counties.
“For a long time now, we have been calling for greater resources that would enable the force to be better placed to tackle specific types of rural crime, given the challenges of working over such a broad area,” said Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire NFU chair Alex Nelms.
“This taskforce will also undoubtedly boost the amount of intelligence gathered by Thames Valley Police that it will be able to share with neighbouring forces, where criminals are operating across borders.”