The CLA has hosted two rural crime meetings with the NFU & Nottinghamshire Police recently. This gave our members in the county an excellent opportunity to air concerns about policing of rural areas and to ask questions on key rural issues.
Hare coursing and the associated criminal damage and threatening behaviour remains a huge problem for CLA members and was one of the hottest topics discussed at the meetings. Concerns were raised that the huge investment by Lincolnshire Police in new equipment for its rural teams would simply push the problem over the border into Nottinghamshire. Nottinghamshire Police re-assured attendees that investment was being made to improve off-road capabilities. A quad bike will be arriving shortly.
Nottinghamshire Police also run regular cross-border operations against poachers with Lincolnshire and other East Midlands forces. Nottinghamshire Poacher Watch run by Jonathan Davis, Head Keeper at Babworth Estate, also undertakes sterling work in deterring poachers. Members wishing to know more about this scheme should contact me at the Regional Office for more information.
There has been a further spate of arson attacks on straw stacks. Members are urged to follow best practice guidance on the siting of stacks where possible and to consider using CCTV or trail cam installations to monitor vulnerable stacks.
Livestock worrying incidents remain stubbornly high on Nottinghamshire stock farms. The CLA will continue to advise members on what to do should they be a victim of an attack but also to continuing lobbying work and awareness raising.
Nottinghamshire Police acknowledge that staff within their control room may not always appreciate the implications that the theft of a tractor, plant or machinery may have in both terms of cost and the inability to complete vital tasks on-farm. Members must emphasise the importance and the monetary value when reporting thefts. Consider fitting trackers to vulnerable or high value kit including Land Rovers.
One member reported being followed and intimidated by another motorist whilst driving her Defender 90. This was likely an attempt to discover the address where the vehicle was kept. Consider fitting a basic front and rear facing dashcam to vehicles to capture registration plates. These can of course also be very useful should you be involved in or witness a road accident.
Environment Agency staff were also on hand to advise on matters relating to fly-tipping. The Environment Agency is responsible for investigating large scale tips in excess of 20 tonnes and tips containing toxic or hazardous waste. Other incidents below this threshold should be reported via the local authority. The Environment Agency helpline number on 0800 80 70 60 is a 24 hour service and will pass reported incidents to the relevant local authority. If registrations of vehicles involved in fly tipping can be recorded then these are very useful as local authority and Environment Agency have access to DVLA databases to identify the owner and tackle offenders. Members can consider installing CCTV or trail cams in high risk areas. Members are also warned to be vigilant of large scale waste scams by organised criminal gangs. If an offer of a large cash payment to store plastic wrapped bales seems ‘too good to be true’ then it probably is. Bales have been cut open to reveal vast quantities of hazardous waste.
Many Nottinghamshire police officers who are on a rural beat have received practical ‘on farm’ training as well as classroom sessions on wildlife crime. Two officers will be selected to attend the intensive National Wildlife Crime course.
It is crucial that members continue to report incidents and suspicious activity to Nottinghamshire Police. These reports can inform intelligence and provide the missing piece of jigsaw resulting in an arrest and prosecution. Furthermore police resources and budgets are allocated according to the number of crimes physically recorded. If incident reports do not show an accurate figure of the level of crime in rural areas then the police simply will not allocate additional funding.
For those with access to a Smartphone consider downloading the ‘Self Evident’ app. This is a free application for Iphone and Android handsets that allows you to photograph an incident or evidence and generate a crime report to your local police force at the click of a button.
Finally if you have any concerns or problems with rural crime in your area do not hesitate to contact me. I am a regular participant in the Nottinghamshire Rural Crime Forum and often have useful contacts to help you resolve a problem.