Although crime figures are relatively lower here than in many other places throughout the United Kingdom, it’s refreshing to see that a newly assembled taskforce have garnered some success already.
North Wales Police set up the Rural Crime Team some six months ago and the benefits for doing so have been proven as rates for countryside offences which can hamper many in the agricultural sector’s livelihood.
The offences committed are quite broad and range from livestock rustling to bird egg theft and from badger digging to farm machinery theft. October last year saw the number of these crimes total at 116 but after Police Commissioner Winston Roddick advised NWP to put an end to it, the RCT was formed.
Subsequently, the amount of crime dropped quite dramatically down to just 72 in January which represents an impressive 40% decrease. Such statistics only serve to show that cracking down on misdemeanors wherever they are is the way to prevent them in the future.
Natural Resources Wales are collaborating with the NWP in a move that has seen a lot of positive feedback from local farmers and communities.
Winston Roddick on the announcement: “During my campaign for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner I visited livestock markets and met farmers and members of the rural communities and without exception they pointed to how much crime was taking place in the countryside.
“These offences ran into millions of pounds and this reinforced the view expressed to me that we should dedicate more resources to combating rural crime.
“Even though the countryside is sparsely populated it contributes an enormous amount to the Welsh economy so it is entitled to effective policing and when I took that to the Chief Constable it was accepted immediately and acted upon immediately.
“Since then the Rural Crime Team has made an excellent start and they are setting a benchmark for the rest of the UK. Their work is attracting a great deal of interest from other forces.”
Heading the special force is Sgt Rob Taylor who said: ““We have a number of offences being dealt with by the courts including a string of stolen quad bikes, one of which we traced to Bolton and the theft of pheasant feeders near Bangor and we’re currently investigating badger baiting offences in the Holywell area while we also work with the RSPCA on cruelty cases.
“We use intelligence-led policing and make use of data which we analyse so that we put resources where they’re needed and when they’re needed.”