Rural crime and emerging trends in organised crime topped the agenda when two farming and rural organisations met with Thames Valley Police.
Representatives of the NFU and the CLA met with the force’s Chief Constable John Campbell at its headquarters in Kidlington for their annual liaison meeting.
Discussions on legislative changes to combat dog attacks on livestock and tackle the scourge of hare coursing were upbeat. But the two organisations raised serious concerns about organised crime, notably the theft of high tech, high value GPS kits that are shipped abroad by criminal networks and sold in Europe.
NFU South East Regional Director William White said: “The theft of expensive GPS systems by organised criminals is sadly fast becoming a regular occurrence. GPS thefts are highly disruptive to farming operations, given the delays in replacing stolen kit. There was a productive discussion on self help measures being adopted by farmers to deter thieves and police recognition of the severity of the impacts arising from these thefts.
“We also helped police to better understand the frustration farmers feel at fly-tipping and illegal access.”
Tim Bamford, CLA South East Regional Director, said: “It was a positive meeting which highlighted the very real impact crime has on rural businesses and communities across Thames Valley.
“The new rural crime task force is a strong step forward and we very much look forward to hearing its successes in the fight against rural crime. The CLA is committed to working with our partners, and we urge farmers, businesses and the wider public to report all incidents so that police can build up a more complete picture and then allocate appropriate resources.”
The meeting included a discussion on the performance of the rural policing team and successful prosecutions over the past year.