Create a rural crime team
Building on a number of rural crime related activities during his first term of office, the PCC sought to introduce a Rural Crime Team for Dorset during the first 100 days of his second term.
It was acknowledged that our rural communities often have greater concerns about crime and its impact than those in urban areas, so a dedicated resource to prevent, investigate and prosecute rural crime related matters would seek to address this.
The new team was launched at a Partnership Networking Event in August 2016. Opening the event, the PCC stated:
“My commitments upon taking office were focused on providing the best possible service to all the communities in Dorset. The launch of the Rural Crime Team reflects that commitment.
“I know from the many rural residents and business owners I have met in Dorset that the fear of crime is high in rural areas. I also know the severe impact rural crime has on victims and their livelihoods.
“Introducing a dedicated team will ensure that more proactive work is done to target this type of criminality, and that we can make people living and working in Dorset’s many rural areas feel safe. It also introduces consistency across intelligence, investigation and crime prevention.”The introduction of the team has led to a number of improvements including an increase in reports of suspicious incidents, suspicious vehicles and poaching incidents.
It has also enhanced internal training to call handlers, rural officers and special constables, as well as crime prevention advice and activity, including engagement and awareness raising activities encouraging the public to take simple steps like marking property and fitting trackers to expensive equipment and material.
This often takes place through initiatives that capture the public’s imagination, such as the ‘Robo-Crop’ police marked tractor and filming with Countryfile on the thefts of rare bird eggs.
Other successes have included a successful prosecution for poaching, a number of arrests relating to tractor thefts, and contributing to multi-agency operations to tackle fly-tipping.
More broadly, the PCC continues to be an active member of the National Rural Crime Network and has provided funding support for the 2018 National Rural Crime Survey as a means to increase knowledge and understanding of the issues most affecting rural communities at a local, regional and national level.