Richmondshire’s rural residents are being urged to have their say in a major new survey.
The National Rural Crime Survey aims to determine the true personal, social and economic cost of rural crime and anti-social behaviour across the country.
The last survey took place in 2015, when 13,000 people responded to give their impressions of crime and anti-social behaviour.
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The results revealed the financial cost of rural crime to the country was significant – around £800 million every year.
In response to this, and following a meeting involving more than 100 stakeholders, North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce was established in April 2016.
The team is made up of an Inspector, two Sergeants, seven Police Constables, seven Police Community Support Officers, and Special Constables, based across the districts of the county.
In addition, there is also an intelligence analyst and a rural policing coordinator, ensuring that the Taskforce is responding to trends in crime flexibly and proactively, by using information gathered from colleagues, communities, and partners alike.
Inspector Jon Grainge, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskorce, said: “The results of the 2015 survey had a significant impact here in North Yorkshire, enabling us to build on the work already carried out by the police, and to work even more closely with partner organisations, volunteers and rural communities themselves to tackle rural crime head-on.
“The new survey is about making sure the voice of rural communities continues to be heard, so I hope that people will spare a few minutes to complete it. The results should provide a clear picture of what has improved, what challenges remain and what more we can do to support people living and working in our countryside.”
Campaigns pioneered by North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce since 2016 include:
• Horse Watch – ensuring expensive tack and equestrian equipment is protected against thieves;
• Operation Traverse – clamping down on illegal fish poaching, in partnership with the Angling Trust and the Environment Agency;
• ‘Call It In’ – a campaign urging residents to report suspicious activity in rural areas to the police;
• Dot peen – sophisticated property marking system, used to engrave farm equipment to deter thieves and help police recover stolen property;
• The identification and tackling of organised crime groups who affect the rural community;
• Operation Woollen – 8,000 of the county’s farms contacted with an offer of a free crime prevention survey;
• Community Messaging – encouraging rural communities to sign up to an alert system to keep them up-to-date about crimes and incidents in their area;
• Rural well-being – recognising that that people in rural communities can be vulnerable, officers have been distributing leaflets to make people aware of the health and wellbeing support available, and are working with partner agencies to ensure appropriate interventions take place;
• Operation Owl – a new initiative to reduce the number of illegal attacks on birds of prey in the county, in partnership with local national park authorities, the RSPB and the RSPCA;
• Operation Galileo – a proactive operation to disrupt poaching opportunities.
Questions in the 2018 National Rural Crime Survey cover a range of issues – from whether you report crimes that you or your business suffer, to the impact crime and anti-social behaviour has on you and your area, and whether you believe enough is done to catch those who carry out the offences.
The survey is now available at www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net and is open for submissions until Sunday 10 June.
It is being carried out by the National Rural Crime Network. The organisation brings together Police and Crime Commissioners, police forces and organisations that play a key role in rural communities – like the Country Land and Business Association, the National Farmers Union, Neighbourhood Watch, Crimestoppers, Historic England and the Countryside Alliance.
Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire and Chair of the National Rural Crime Network, said: “I hope that everyone living or working in a rural community will spare a few minutes to complete our survey. It will provide a clear picture of what has improved, what challenges remain and what more government, police forces and other organisations can do to support the most isolated areas of our county.
“Following the survey in 2015, here in North Yorkshire, we launched our Rural Policing Strategy to tackle the problem head on. The fact that, as part of this strategy, we have one of the largest rural crime task forces in the country shows how seriously the issue is being taken by North Yorkshire Police, a force that is determined to meet the needs of our rural communities.
“But I want to know how people and communities feel locally, and whether the changes in North Yorkshire have made a difference. Please let me know what you think by completing our short survey – www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net“