Prioritising rural crime

CLA Public Affairs Manager Eleanor Wood explains why rural crime needs to be prioritised in the upcoming elections

Next month marks the season of elections.

On May 6, both local elections (UK) and national elections (Wales and Scotland) will take place.

Also on this date are the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections, after having their terms extended for a year due to the pandemic. The CLA has written to all of the PCC candidates with our top priorities for combatting rural crime and calling for forces to adequately fund policing in a rural environment.

Rural crime is not considered as important as other crimes committed in cities or towns, but has a vast impact on residents and business owners. Typically, the reason behind this is ignorance but we hope with more new recruits, and call handlers educated on issues such as wildlife crime, it will demonstrate the danger of this issue.

Rural policing has improved in recent years with many forces sharing best practice and prevention methods. Fundamental to this has been the National Rural Crime Network, which provides vital research and reports on rural crime. This essential body is funded by PCCs, who we are urging to continue funding this organisation.

PCCs are intended to be the conduit between regional policing and other bodies, and to stand as a role model in their respective communities. As part of this role, the CLA would like to see each PCC work closely with their local authority and the Environment Agency, particularly on fly-tipping as many landowners are left the victim with no designated body to turn to for support. There must be more support for landowners who are left to bear the brunt of the damage and cover the clear-up costs.

You can read our priorities for combatting rural crime here.