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Cllr raises questions over rural crime
A PARISH councillor has raised concerns about the term "rural crime" saying it refers to a much more specific area than many may think.
Linda Derrick, a Hughenden Parish Councillor, wrote to the commander for the Wycombe police area, Gilbert Houalla, expressing her concerns about the police definition.
She said it appears to be, more or less, ordinary crime which takes place at a farm or farm buildings or involves farm property like tractors or livestock.
Cllr Derrick added: "Councillors had previously assumed that 'rural crime' was something that took place in rural areas across the county, not just at farms."
She said police set rural crime as a Priority 1 to "ensure that the residents and businesses in rural areas receive the quality of service from the police that they demand and deserve".
But she said this only serves residents and business which happen to be in farm buildings. The issue was discussed at the last Hughenden Parish Council meeting.
Cllr Derrick said in a letter to Supt Houalla: "The council thought that many residents in rural area would be similarly surprised to learn that this priority is essentially about farms.
"They might have been reassured when they were told that 'rural crime' was a priority because they believed that meant crime prevention and detection in rural areas were a priority. But if they believed that, then they were mistaken.
"I’m sure that Thames Valley Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner would not wish to mislead residents and will make every effort to explain what rural crime really means. It would of course be wrong to reassure residents that rural areas were being given priority when indeed they are not."
Ch Insp Colin Seaton, deputy area commander, said: "The definition of rural crime gives us a statistical framework to measure performance that is specific to rural areas. However, this in no way detracts from policing generally in the rural areas across the district where there is still a focus on crime, anti-social behaviour and neighbourhood priorities."
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