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Farmers' Union advisor rewarded for efforts in tackling rural crime in Nottinghamshire

PCC Caroline Henry and Andy Guy with his award

Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry (left) with NFU County Advisor Andy Guy and his award.

More than a decade working in the farming industry means Andy Guy’s current role doesn’t feel much like work to him.

After hanging up his sheers in 2010, he is now campaigning for more efforts to be put into bringing down the cases of rural crime within Nottinghamshire.

Having friends still working in the industry and seeing the negative impact criminals can have, Andy has worked with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner since 2015.

His work as the National Farmers’ Union County Advisor was recognised with a special Responding Award, in Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry’s dedicated section of the Nottinghamshire Police Force Awards.

The achievement is based on the effective and efficient work done in helping respond to community needs, and in Andy’s mind the work is just getting started.

“I’m embedded in the farming industry and I’m trying to do my bit in reducing their biggest problem,” he said.

“The criminal community will learn that Nottinghamshire Police is working in the countryside and hopefully that will mean they are less likely to act.

“I think we’re going in the right direction. There’s a long way to go in our journey and we can’t take our foot off the gas, but we’re heading towards more positivity.

“We were behind our neighbouring counties a couple of years ago but now they are looking at certain things we do and using them to improve themselves.”

Working closely with Commissioner Henry since she was elected in 2021 has proven to be a sliding doors moment for the way rural crime is dealt with, and it has changed the way farmers themselves now view the force.

Earlier this year Commissioner Henry announced a £100,000 grant scheme for charities and local organisations to run projects to prevent rural crime and support victims.

This followed the announcement that Commissioner Henry had also provided £200,000 for a project to provide free security equipment for victims of rural crime across Bassetlaw, and Newark and Sherwood, including the creation of a new dedicated rural crime prevention officer role.

Other investments have also allowed the force to purchase a whole range of state-of-the-art equipment to help rural officers fight crime more effectively, including four drones, additional 4x4 rural vehicles with searchlights and more marked vehicles for rural locations.

Additional funding has also allowed officers across the force to undertake more training surrounding rural crime. This includes national rural crime training for beat officers, farm awareness and health and safety training and five new rural crime points of contact within the control room.

Call handlers and dispatchers are also given additional training by the National Farmers’ Union to help them better understand and respond to the unique impact that rural crime can have when they assess the threat, risk and harm caused by the incident being reported.

There are now 48 police constables and PCSOs across the force who have access to this specialist equipment, resources, and training to increase awareness and ensure a better service for victims in their areas.

Surveys by the National Farmers’ Union have proven that all this extra resource is working and providing better reassurance. Farmers are now 40% more likely to make a complaint if they are victims of crime, and that they feel much more comfortable in doing so.

Andy’s work has ensured that there is a willingness to play ball on both sides, with more officers than ever getting the training required to go and speak to those affected.

As well as running his own farm business consultancy, Andy dedicates his time to setting out targets and ways to further improve a task he sees as his duty to his friends and colleagues.

“We had a low confidence in the police which was around 30%, when other counties were much higher,” he adds.

“Crime levels were also very disappointing, so we ran the survey again in the Autumn of 2022 and the responses were very different.

“It showed that reported crime is up, which at first seems a negative but it is a result of more farmers having confidence in the force, with the figure up now at around 70%.

“We’ve changed the roles and job descriptions slightly of all of the neighbourhood officers within the countryside and rural district, which changed the emphasis of their focus.

“It was the right thing to do when we look back on it. The training has taken place and we’ve had 120 backroom staff with us, as well as almost 50 officers.”

Commissioner Henry presented Andy with a trophy at the ceremony at Sherwood Lodge Joint Force Headquarters in Arnold on Tuesday 25 April.

She said: “While working with Andy over the past two years he has shown his love and care for the farming industry, and with that in mind, our funding has continued to increase in order to cut down rural crime.

“The numbers are impressive and continue to improve, and that is down to the work done by Andy and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. We know we are still making steps towards where we would like it to be, but it’s great to be gaining ground on those at fault and Andy’s award is another example of that.

“Rural crime can have such a damaging effect on its victims, and it is our job to drive that message home to the criminals who embark on such things.”

This year’s event took place at the force’s Sherwood Lodge headquarters across two ceremonies.

An afternoon ceremony involved Long Service and Good Conduct medals being presented to over 170 officers and staff, while the evening ceremony hosted 20 main awards, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s awards and over a hundred Chief Constable Commendations. 

Posted on Tuesday 16th May 2023
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