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Rural Crime Network Aims to Help Farmers in Dorset

Dorset Police Car 2

7:55am 4th February 2014

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill has welcomed the establishment of a new National Rural Crime Network.

The network aims to help tackle rural crime more effectively in England and Wales.

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

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, said: "As the Commissioner for a largely rural police force in England, I am particularly keen to support this initiative. Crime in rural areas accounts for a large proportion of Dorset 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."

Nick Payne from Rural Services Network (RSN) said: "There is a common perception that rural crime is less significant than that occurring in cities and towns.  The impact of rural crime is just as serious as it is elsewhere and it's becoming an increasing problem as austerity bites and as police resources are stretched thinner. There are also strong links to serious organised gangs in relation to some classifications of rural crime, for example theft of agricultural plant and machinery and the availability of drugs."

Nick added "There is good collaborative work already occurring in some localities but it is widely acknowledged that sharing of best practice is patchy and urgently needs to be improved." The Network will ensure that is effectively coordinated and sustained.  It will also be developing strong links to academic research resources as well promoting successful techniques to encourage rural communities to become more self -resilient in these difficult times."

The Network will provide an online resource for police, community safety practitioners and others to interact, to share information, training development, access to case studies and link up with other mechanisms for reporting crime and/or suspicious behaviour.

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