Police planning new approach to farm crime

Farmers are being urged to offer their support to a scheme which aims to revamp the future of rural policing and cut the number of farm thefts.

The project by Hampshire Constabulary hopes to improve policing in rural communities to tackle the growing number of diesel thefts and sheep rustling.

It also wants farmers to help cut crimes by reporting robberies and properly protecting their farms against thieves.

The scheme, which will be launched at Sparsholt College this week (6 May), follows a review by Hampshire Constabulary of the way it policed the countryside.

The review found that while text alert systems and rural crime-watch networks helped tackle crime, more could be done to improve their success across the whole county and the Isle of Wight.

Improvements to the force’s operations will now see specialist Country Watch officers cover rural areas and work with neighbourhood groups to identify problem areas.

It was also ensure control room staff know how to deal with rural crime so they recognise the significance of machinery thefts and poaching.

As part of the project, information about crimes will also be shared more readily across the county, while officers will talk to farmers about where they should be making security improvements on their properties.

Chief Inspector Rachel Farrell said the Hampshire force had been working hard to create a plan to tackle rural crime and improve the service offered to farmers.

But the project needed the support of rural communities to properly tackle the issue of rural crime.

It is important to us that residents come on board and help us keep their area safe,” she added.

CI Farrell said farmers could help tackle crime by reporting suspicious activity, joining their local Country Watch scheme and even volunteering to become a special constable.

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