North Yorkshire Police has heralded its relationship with officers in neighbouring Cleveland after residents facing a rural crimewave raised doubts over whether the forces were cooperating properly.
Inspector Jon Grainge, who leads North Yorkshire’s Rural Taskforce, said close working between the forces had led to numerous arrests of people from the Cleveland area over a spate of 120 burglaries since August in rural areas of North Yorkshire.
Insp Grainge issued the reassurances to residents in response to concerns raised on behalf of Richmond MP Rishi Sunak at North Yorkshire County Council’s committee for the constituency.
Mr Sunak’s aide, Malcolm Warne, said the MP had received “a lot of correspondence about farm and quad bike thefts”.
He said: “One suggestion that has been made to him is the cooperation from the Cleveland force has perhaps not been as good as it might have been, given that they face different priorities in their area.”
Insp Grainge said it was clear that Cleveland had many different priorities to those in North Yorkshire, and while many of the criminals were from Teesside it was North Yorkshire Police’s responsibility to deal with offences within its area.
He said there was “some very good collaboration” between the forces, with Cleveland providing assistance with intelligence and “some quite considerable resources” for operations, such as those involving arrests.
Insp Grainge added: “What Cleveland don’t have is that attitude to solve the problem, because it’s not their problem. And that’s understandable to an extent because it’s a North Yorkshire problem.
“We are working with their neighbourhood policing team to try and do some disruption around their offenders. In terms of ownership of the problem it has got be us, because if we expect Cleveland to own it all nothing will happen. It’s unfair to say Cleveland are doing nothing, that’s not true and we have a very, very good working relationship.”
He told the committee that collaborative working between the forces had led to the identification of an organised crime group from the Cleveland area behind numerous burglaries in North Yorkshire.
Insp Grainge said: “There has been a live investigation for some time and we feel that we are coming to a conclusion shortly and should see some charges and some prison time on the back of it.
“There has been a lot of pressure from the public, and rightly so, because it is a considerable issue.”
He added rural residents could do more to help stop crimes, and highlighted how only about 20 per cent of the 8,500 farms across North Yorkshire had accepted crime prevention advice offered to them by the force.