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‘More Can Be Done’ to Tackle Rural Crime Say Police

Published on: 24 Mar, 2024
Updated on: 26 Mar, 2024

Fly tipping has been on the rise in the South East farming community. Photo: National Farmers’ Union

By Emily Dalton

local democracy reporter

Surrey farmers have called for police to take rural crime ‘seriously’ as it pledges to crackdown on rising incidents.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) have welcomed Surrey Police’s commitment to tackle rural crime, but said the farming communities need to see results.

Harriet Henrick, NFU county adviser for Surrey, said farmers need “better protection” from police. She said: “Our members need reassurance that when crimes are reported they will be taken seriously and investigated.”

Attacks on sheep, thefts, suspected arson on barns and fly-tipping are some of the many serious incidents Surrey farmers have been victim to in recent months.

See: 15-year-old Arrested in Connection with Lambs Run Down on Bramley Farm

Farmers say rural crimes are taking an expensive toll, costing individual businesses thousands of pounds, causing severe animal suffering, and impacting on their ability to feed the nation.

The cost of rural crime in the South East was estimated at £9.3 million in 2022, an increase by nearly a quarter from 2021, the NFU said.

The South East made up around 18.7 per cent of the total cost of rural crime in the UK in 2022, at  £49.5 million.

Members of the union want to see clear targets, priorities and objectives in preventing rural crime- with both long-term and short-term solutions.

Police officers pledge to crackdown on rural crime. Photo: National Farmers’ Union

Superintendent Michael Hodder of Surrey Police admitted rural crime is an area where “even more work can be done” to support farming communities.

Key initiatives for cracking down on rural crime focus on collaborating and engaging with farmers and landowners to understand the challenges they are facing and how the force can support them in policing.

Meetings between the NFU and Surrey Police have taken place with the aim of giving farmers greater protection; Surrey Police have also promised to visit every NFU member in the county as part of its efforts to tackle rural crime.

Superintendent Hodder added: “We will investigate every report of rural crime, and will work closely with victims so they know what they can expect from us, what we need from them, and how we can work together to reduce rural crime across the county.

“We want everyone to feel safe in Surrey, and so my main ask would be that anyone who is the victim of rural crime reports it to us, so that we can continue to build an accurate picture of this crime across the county.”

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Responses to ‘More Can Be Done’ to Tackle Rural Crime Say Police

  1. Mike Smith Reply

    March 24, 2024 at 8:09 pm

    Fly tipping could easily be significantly reduced by nominating specific sites where people could dump their rubbish. Perhaps we could call them “rubbish dumps”?

  2. M Durant Reply

    March 27, 2024 at 4:31 pm

    It’s good that the police will support the farmers. Could they also check on Southway and Park Barn in Guildford where I have seen: youngsters regularly speeding at week ends on the main road with off road motorcycles with no number plates, youngsters fishing in the ponds in the Research Park on Sundays (there are signs saying no fishing), cars speeding at night on Egerton Road into Southway, and a building on Egerton Road where the front door made of glass has been smashed regularly for the past two years. The council has yet to put cameras as a deterrent.

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