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Survey shows fly-tipping biggest issue for South West’s Rural Residents

A rural crime survey has shown that fly-tipping was the crime most likely to have affected rural residents in the South West in the past 12 months.

Fly-tipping and littering covers a range of items that people might discard in a public place, from large appliances like fridges to drugs-related paraphernalia like needles and syringes.

Fly-tipping and littering can be a health hazard, not to mention an eyesore. Local authorities are responsible for investigating, clearing and taking appropriate enforcement action in relation to fly-tipping.

The same survey also found that 59% of rural residents had experienced no crime. The survey was launched in June by Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner David Sidwick, and his counterparts in Devon and Cornwall, Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire. The group wanted to better understand how each of their rural communities are affected by crime.

The survey asked rural residents if they have been the victim of any crimes in the past 12 months as well as asking what rural crimes concern them the most. Results showed the theft of agricultural machinery was the crime that concerned respondents the most and found more than 50% of respondents did not report crimes they were the victim of to the police.

Mr Sidwick said: “As the voice of the public in policing, I am always keen to better understand my constituents’ views on the issues that affect them, and I’d like to thank every person who took the time to respond to this survey.

I am saddened to see that over 50% of respondents said that they did not report a crime to the police and would urge victims to ensure they do report any crime to Dorset Police through either 999, if there is an immediate danger, or through the online reporting system in non-emergencies. If the Police do not know about a crime, they cannot help. Policing is intelligence-led which means the chief constable relies on reporting to direct resources.

I am committed to making Dorset the safest county for all, including those from our rural communities and I am pleased to see the majority of residents said they had not experienced crime in the last year. However, for those who have experienced crime, I would like to make it clear that Dorset Police’s Rural Crime Team are working tirelessly to fight rural crime. The success and dedication of the team is apparent as they have recovered over £1.3million of stolen goods in the last year and they are determined to ensure that positive change is felt by every one of our rural residents”

The five PCCs have also previously worked together to successfully lobby the government for tough sanctions against those who fly-tip and recently announced the launch of Operation Ragwort, a joint cross-border operation targeting Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) involved in rural crime.




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