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Support for rural communities increasing thanks to resource uplift

Rural Crime post

Left to right: Beat Manager Cai Kemish, PCC Caroline Henry, Cllr Rob Inglis, Insp Rob Lawton and Geoff Carpenter from Rushcliffe Borough Council.

The fight to make Nottinghamshire a “no-go zone for rural criminals” is being stepped up to new levels after a huge investment in officers, training and state-of-the-art equipment.

Significant funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is being spent to ensure rural communities receive the best possible policing service.

Recent additions to the county’s rural crime resource include the creation of a new dedicated rural crime prevention officer who will work with victims of crime to provide free security devices to prevent them being targeted again – as well as a new £100,000 fund to help local organisations join the rural crime battle.

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry has made it one of her top priorities within her Make Notts Safe plan to ensure Nottinghamshire Police have the resources to give the best possible service to rural communities.

She said: “Rural communities can often feel isolated and vulnerable due to their locations and when they become victims of crime it can hit them hard.

“In some cases, such as thefts of farm machinery, it can impact not only on people’s feelings of safety and loss of property, but their livelihoods too.

“That’s why, when I spoke to communities when formulating the Make Notts Safe Plan, I recognised rural crime as a priority area – to help in terms of ‘levelling up’ the support for rural communities.”

As part of her Safer4All funding, Commissioner Henry employed a new dedicated rural crime prevention officer as part of a £200,000 project to enhance safety.

David Elms’ work in this role will include assessing the needs of rural crime victims and implementing a range of so-called “target hardening” measures to make it more difficult for criminals to reoffend.

The measures could include installing CCTV and motion sensor lighting to prevent break-ins, and measures to prevent vehicle theft such as gating and installing concrete blocks to restrict access.

She has also launched her rural crime thematic grant, where she is seeking charities and organisations who can prevent rural crime, engage with the community and educate police and practitioners about rural crime to bid for a share of £100,000.

Successful applicants will also work with Notts Victim CARE to ensure rural victims are able to access support services.

It is multi-year funding which is available to be allocated between April 2023 and March 2025.

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.

These include:

  • Four drones
  • Additional 4x4 rural vehicles with searchlights
  • More marked vehicles for rural locations
  • Fixed and mobile automatic number plate recognition cameras
  • Thermal imaging goggles, dragon lights and binoculars
  • 15 tracking hardware devices
  • Five off road motorbikes
  • New farm bio security kits
  • New off road vehicle stingers

As well as new equipment, 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
  • Two annual continued professional development days for rural beat officers
  • Five new rural crime points of contact within the control room
  • 4x4 response driving
  • Large animal handling for beat officers
  • Training in farming machinery, plant and vehicle theft

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

This is broken down into 21 PCSOs, 21 existing beat mangers and six new beat managers all equip to best support victims.

Chief Inspector Heather Maelor, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Tackling rural crime remains at the forefront of our activities and our Inspectors in the rural areas of Nottinghamshire are continuing their fight to tackle rural issues head-on.

“Thanks to all of the investments made including high-tech equipment, extra training, the addition of twelve rural crime points of contact in the control room and the brand new dedicated rural crime prevention officer we are using every resource available to us.

“We want to support our rural communities as much as possible and by using all of these resources at our officer’s fingertips we will continue to use the ever-expanding range of equipment to take the fight to criminals who believe they can target the rural areas and cause misery for our communities.”

NFU’s Nottinghamshire county adviser Andy Guy said: “Rural crime is a big concern for our countryside communities and its impact on victims and their families is hugely damaging.

“That’s why it has been so encouraging to see investment being funnelled into tackling rural crime from the PCC and the county’s police force, which I know has been received well in the farming community.

“We work really closely with both the PCC and the police, including providing training to officers and staff, and we want to continue helping them to make rural Nottinghamshire a no-go zone for criminals.”

Posted on Friday 17th February 2023
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