Rural crime and emerging trends in organised crime topped the agenda when two farming and rural organisations met with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Police.
Representatives of the NFU and the CLA met with Hampshire and Isle of Wight police Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney and the rural policing team, near Upham, courtesy of farmer Mark Dunford.
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.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight NFU adviser James FitzGerald said: “The theft of expensive GPS systems by organised criminals is sadly fast becoming a regular occurrence. During the meeting, host farmer Mark Dunford made it very clear to police how 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 Hampshire. It was good to hear the Chief Constable’s commitment to staff resourcing and her speedy work recruiting new members to the team.
“The CLA is committed to working with our partners to help tackle rural crime, 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. It concluded with talks on the fairer resourcing and funding of rural policing.