Following our recent virtual meeting with Gloucestershire Police, we heard from the force that poaching and rural theft continue to be an issue across Gloucestershire. With expansions to the Rural Crime Team and growing awareness and intelligence around the issues of poaching and hare coursing, the team is dealing with more poachers than it has previously.
However, there are still a number that get away before the Police are able to deal with them. The Police discussed the awareness of the organised crime elements of these groups and the social media presence that some have. Therefore, they are looking further into how they can try and address some of the issues at source by trying to infiltrate these social media circles.
There was concern from Police that under-reporting continues to be an issue within rural communities. We would urge all members that experience any criminal matter, no matter how small, to report the incident. Even if the Police are unable to resolve the issue, the data is key to portraying the scale of the issue of rural crime and allows for appropriate allocation of resources.
Impact of Covid-19 on policing in the county
The Police informed us of the changes faced this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as managing the workforce to try and minimise the impact of an outbreak of the virus, Police have also had to constantly adapt to the ever-changing legislation and try and police in a manner that does not alienate them from the community. This constantly changing legislation has created some issues for the Police as there has been cases of misinformation (i.e. the briefings given to officers have been outdated by Government changes so quickly that the officers were not enforcing the current legislation).
New head of Rural Crime Team
The new incoming head of the Rural Crime Team in Gloucestershire, Ian Fletcher has already been extremely helpful in assisting with an issue on behalf of a member and is very willing to engage with the CLA.
Who to call and when?
If a crime is in progress, call 999
Dial 101 if a crime has taken place or to report suspicious activity
Check if your force area has online reporting for non-emergency activity.