CLA supports Thames Valley Police's first rural crime strategy

Force publishes strategy to tackle rural criminality across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire
TVP rural crime strategy launch
(L-R) Thames Valley Police Rural Crime Taskforce lead, Inspector Stuart Hutchings, CLA member and landowner Robert Ruck-Keene, Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber, Rural Crime Partnership chair David Orpwood, Thames Valley Police rural crime lead, Superintendent Lewis Prescott-Mayling and agriculture and construction specialist Dave Clayton.

Thames Valley Police is furthering its commitment to tackling rural crime and making the area a hostile place for countryside offenders.

The force's first rural crime strategy has been produced, which sets out the plan for reducing offending, improving co-operation and bringing offenders to justice up to 2026.

Assistant Chief Constable Christian Bunt, strategic lead for rural crime, said: “Tackling rural crime is a priority for Thames Valley Police.

“The Thames Valley is blessed with natural beauty, historic landscapes and vibrant rural communities; it is a vital part of the economy and we are committed to protecting these assets for the benefit of us all.

“We will be focused on working with our partners and communities to create a hostile environment for those who commit rural crime.

“For those who do commit rural crime, we will do all we can bring them to justice.

“Our local neighbourhood policing teams and Rural Crime Taskforce will focus on the most prevalent threats and emerging issues that have the greatest impact on our rural communities.”

The force's Rural Crime Taskforce was set up two years ago, with more than £4 million-worth of property seized in that time.

TVP has pledged to:

  • Tackle criminality and improve its understanding of rural crime, it will monitor crime trends, train contact management staff, work with local policing areas and intelligence teams and increase the number of wildlife crime-trained officers.
  • Use Whatsapp groups to engage with communities as well as support weeks of action, use social media and develop rural crime calendars.
  • Work with neighbouring police forces, use drones and automated number plate recognition cameras and continue to tackle hare coursing through Op Galileo.
  • Develop relationships with partners and stakeholders to improve collaboration, as well as continuing its regular rural crime partnership board meetings and use special constables.

CLA backing

The CLA has supported the force's Rural Crime Taskforce since it was founded.

Tim Bamford, Regional Director of CLA South East, said: “We welcome this strategy and the commitment of Thames Valley Police to tackling rural crime, which blights farmers, businesses and communities across the region.

“The CLA has worked closely with the force’s Rural Crime Taskforce since it was formed two years ago, and it has already achieved some impressive outcomes. The strategy outlines how we can all work together to create a hostile environment for those committing rural crime, and we look forward to further supporting the efforts over the coming years.

“We encourage all victims of crime to report incidents, to help police build up the most complete picture possible and allocate resources accordingly.”

Matthew Barber, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “The impact of rural crime can be devastating and can leave our most isolated communities feeling particularly vulnerable.

“The publication of the first Rural Crime Strategy demonstrates Thames Valley Police’s commitment to tackling it and building the trust and confidence of residents across our rural areas."