NFU calls for action on rural crime ahead of PCC elections

The NFU is calling for farmers to support its campaign by signing an open letter to every newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), urging them to prioritise rural crime as a key issue on their agenda.

The open letter coincides with the PCC elections tomorrow (Thursday 2 May), and comes after the latest NFU Mutual survey revealed that rural crime cost the UK £49.5m in 2022 alone.

NFU vice-president Rachel Hallos said the elections were an opportunity to raise rural crime up the PCCs’ agenda.

See also: How successful is the National Rural Crime Unit one year on?

“In recent years, rural communities across Britain have had to deal with highly organised criminal gangs targeting the countryside to dump huge amounts of waste and steal livestock, valuable machinery or expensive GPS equipment,” she said.

“Not only does this make farmers and their families feel unsafe in their home and workplace, it also affects them financially and heavily impacts their ability to do their job of providing food for the nation.

“The upcoming PCC elections provide a timely opportunity to shine a light on these issues.”

The NFU is calling on members to join its campaign by signing an open letter to every newly elected PCC. The letter outlines key recommendations to address rural crime, including:

  1. Ensuring priorities for addressing rural crime are detailed in the PCC’s Police & Crime Plan
  2. Recruiting a dedicated rural crime specialist
  3. Engaging regularly with the farming community and its representatives
  4. Delivering effective response and investigation of crimes affecting farm businesses
  5. Working with farm businesses on effective crime prevention strategies
  6. Developing a strategy to counter the impact of organised crime groups operating in rural areas
  7. Providing greater rural crime training for officers and control centres.

Ms Hallos continued: “I urge all candidates to meet with their local farmers to truly understand the impact of crimes can have first-hand and commit to tangible plans to better help combat rural crime.”

The deadline for adding a signature to the letter is 12 May.

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