Research by the CLA, which scrutinised the activities of 38 rural police forces across England and Wales, shows that more than a third (37%) lack a dedicated rural crime strategy, nearly two-fifths (39%) do not have a rural crime team, and only 10 forces (28%) deliver rural crime training for new recruits.
It also revealed that more than one in four (27%) do not have a police officer of inspector rank or above leading rural crime. Furthermore, only around half (53%) of rural police forces across England and Wales have dedicated rural crime prevention tools, such as 4x4s, trail bikes, night vision equipment or drones.
The analysis builds on previously published figures which show the average cost of a rural crime incident is £4,800, with each fly-tipping occurrence costing more than £1,000 to clear up. Half of rural business owners state that crime has a “moderate” to “great” impact on their lives and 60% are “fairly” or “very” worried about becoming a victim of crime.
The analysis pulls together insight from CLA’s regional teams who regularly engage with rural police forces on behalf of its 30,000 rural landowner and business members.
Click here to read the action plan in full.
The CLA is calling for rural police forces across England and Wales to implement its five recommendations to ensure they are ready to combat rural crime.
1. Every police force should have a dedicated rural crime team, with an identified point of contact for rural communities.
2. Every force must have a rural crime strategy in place by May 2021 that has been created in consultation with local people. This should include seeking to make use of rural volunteers, local forums and regular communications with communities to ensure strong links between police forces and local people.
3. All police forces must undertake an audit of the equipment required to combat crimes in their locality and set out a plan to acquire equipment which is lacking.
4. Mandatory rural crime training for all new recruits.
5. As part of their police and crime plan, incoming Police and Crime Commissioners must identify their ambitions for rural areas.