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Rural criminals won't be allowed under the radar
CRIMINALS who think they can go under the radar by targeting quiet rural areas should think again, police chiefs say, as a crackdown begins.
Officers say not enough people in these parts of Wycombe report suspicious behaviour. They urged residents not to be shy about reporting their concerns.
Targeting rural crime was a priority set out by Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld.
Last week, officers from the Wycombe rural team visited 123 rural premises including residents, businesses, farmers and stables to encourage them to make more use of the force.
Sargeant Matthew Lloyd, leading teams from Marlow, Hazlemere and Princes Risborough, had this message: "Criminals who come to the Wycombe policing area should be aware that we have teams dedicated to responding to suspicious activity and we believe that more and more members of the public are going to be reporting suspicious activity to us and we will attend and deal very robustly."
He said: "We want people to be reassured that we take rural crime very seriously and to understand that we will never think that they are wasting our time if they call us with a concern.
"They're not wasting our time because that's what we're paid to do. Our primary job is catching baddies.
"This is about making people very much aware that they should reports suspicious behaviour to us because we believe that not much is reported to us.
" People often see stuff which they think is suspicious and are concerned but then don't follow it up by reporting to us."
The kind of crimes seen in rural areas is quite wide ranging, he said, though theft of heating oil is one of the most prevalent at the moment.
His target is to make committing crime more difficult in rural parts, to actively go after and arrest offenders and remind residents how seriously they treat the matter.
He said: "If people see anything that's not quite right they should give us a call.
"We suspect that if someone is, for example, going to steal agricultural machinery or heating oil than they would do some kind of reconnaissance first to find out whether going to steal from but we often don't hear about it.
"We are very keen that we do speak to the suspicious people to find this out exactly what they're doing the area and to make it very clear to them that we know that they are here and that we will be keeping an eye on them."
For more on security services the force provides such as property marking kits see http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/crprev/crprev-countrywatch.htm