A new rural police team has been put through its paces in training on a Sussex farm to help it prepare to tackle crime in the county.
Sussex Police has created the team that will focus on farming, equine and wildlife crimes that affect isolated communities.
The team is made up of two sergeants, eight constables and six police community support officers, working from bases at Midhurst and Heathfield.
Small groups of officers have this week (8 June) been undergoing training on a farm in Petworth at a safe social distance.
Hosted by West Sussex NFU chairman Mark Chandler, the officers have been learning to recognise the various types of rural crime while hearing about detection and deterrence.
- Farming overview, farm incomes, diversification
- Agricultural machinery – function and value; security marking and tracking devices
- Fuel, crop protection and fertilisers
- Livestock and cropping
- Farm access
- Dog attacks on livestock
- Hare coursing, deer poaching and fish poaching
- Farmed environment and green farming schemes
Mr Chandler said: “I’ve been more than happy to assist Sussex Police in ensuring that the team gets off to a good start with some practical training on farm.
“There are many different types of crime that farmers experience and it was good to explain some of the worst issues we face and how we might deal with these. Rural crime can be tackled effectively if we all work together.”
The new rural crime team has been welcomed by the NFU, following more than four years of lobbying for greater police resources in Sussex.
NFU Sussex adviser Romy Jackson said: “We work closely with Sussex Police and it is great news that the force now has a rural crime team.
“We’ve had the advantage of seeing how other police forces around the country manage rural policing and the model adopted is one advocated by the NFU.”
Chief Insp Steve Biglands, Sussex Police’s rural crime lead, encouraged rural communities to report crimes.
He said: “We are keenly aware of the significant impact that these types of crimes have on our remote communities, and the implementation of this new team is designed to provide a direct link between those more isolated and the police.
“We have a substantial number of rural residents and businesses in Sussex and they deserve our protection.”