National rural crime plan launched to protect communities
TWO of Britain’s largest national crime-fighting organisations have joined forces to crack down on rural criminals.
Launching the initiative between Crimestoppers and the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) rural crime conference in Birmingham today (Wednesday), Crimestoppers chief executive Mark Hallas said a ‘coalition approach’ was needed to tackle the growing problem.
The campaign will focus on raising awareness of rural crime, the signs to look out for and how information can be passed to Crimestoppers anonymously. It will be the first time that both charities have worked together nationally to tackle crime directly.
Rural crime costs the farming industry millions of pounds each year.
Mr Hallas, said: “Crime within the rural communities is a prevalent issue that should not be ignored and should instead be tackled by those who can help bring the number of incidents down.
“Crimestoppers is committed to supporting those affected by rural crime and we hope that by pairing up with our partner organisations, and with the help of the public, we can start to bring those responsible to justice.”
Both organisations, the police, public and businesses, including farmers, will share information via a national website and communication system called Rural Alert, an addition to the national database and communication system Neighbourhood Alert, used by the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network.
Jim Maddan, Chairman for the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network, added: “As technology advances so do criminals and we need to work together to be one step ahead. Criminals do not stop committing crime because they are travelling into another county or police force area.
“By adopting a national approach, boundaries disappear and information becomes more apparent. By sharing the information on what we do know about this type of crime, the public and businesses can really have an impact on helping the police to catch the small minority of people affecting many rural communities”.
The Neighbourhood Alert system is used by 10 police forces as well as several Fire and Rescue Services, Resilience Forums and local authorities.
Hundreds of thousands of people have registered for free via one of the 70 sites that use the Alert system.
In the last year over 20,000 farmers have joined a Farm or Country Watch website powered by Alert.
Rural Alert gives farmers and any rural community the opportunity to register free of charge, receive messages and report information.
For more information visit www.ourwatch.org.uk