CLA secures Labour pledge to establish Rural Crime Strategy

Rural communities need protecting from organised crime gangs, says CLA President Victoria Vyvyan
Rural crime
Labour says it wants to tackle the issues blighting communities outside of Britain’s towns and cities.

The CLA has secured a pledge from Labour to establish a Rural Crime Strategy.

Sir Keir Starmer has outlined how his party would tackle rural crime, citing new research commissioned by Labour from the House of Commons Library that reveals the crime rate in rural areas has surged by 32 per cent since 2011 - compared to 24 per cent for urban areas - with a total rise of almost 130,000 reported offences.

The announcement comes after intense lobbying from the CLA as it seeks to influence the content of party manifestos ahead of the next general election.

Country Land and Business Association (CLA) President Victoria Vyvyan said:

"Criminals are often emboldened by the isolation of rural communities. As a result, rural crime is anything but petty, and it often comes with the explicit threat of violence from thugs linked to organised criminal gangs.

"Expensive machinery is being stolen and moved abroad, hare-coursing is being live-streamed for illegal international betting markets, even crimes many thought of as being a thing of the past - such as sheep rustling - are increasingly common.

“We warmly welcome Labour's announcement of a Rural Crime Strategy, something that is needed to protect people, communities and businesses. The first place to start must surely be ending the chronic underfunding of rural police forces."

What is Labour pledging?

The Labour leader's action plan includes:

  • Launching the first government-backed Rural Crime Strategy, ensuring cross-government coordination between the Home Office, Defra and other departments.
  • Increasing police patrols in rural areas, as part of plans for 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs.
  • Tougher measures to clamp down on antisocial behaviour, agricultural crime and drug dealing, with stronger laws to prevent GPS farm equipment theft, new powers to tackle livestock worrying, and requiring fly-tippers to clean-up their own mess.

The CLA continues to lobby political parties in line with the six Rural Powerhouse 'missions' for the next government, published earlier this year.

What do you think political parties/police forces can do to tackle rural crime? Have you been a victim recently? Please share your views and experiences with the CLA by emailing

Find out more

Visit the CLA Rural Crime hub