A CRIMESTOPPING crackdown on wrong-doing in rural areas gets underway across Bucks and the Thames Valley this month.
The regional Crimestoppers organisation is teaming up with local volunteer committees, law enforcement agencies and rural partners across the country to launch a social media campaign to help fight the crimes that affect the livelihood and stability of our rural communities.
Rural theft cost the UK an estimated £42.3m in 2012 and can have far reaching consequences for urban communities in terms of the food chain, deliveries and supermarket prices.
The ‘Scene it. Herd it. Speak up about it. Anonymously.’ message will predominantly be spread via social media using Facebook, twitter and local alert systems and the public will be directed to a webpage which discusses aspects of rural crime such as poaching, hare-coursing, theft of oil, metal and machinery and highlights what we need to look out for and how to safely give information anonymously via Crimestoppers.
Chief Constable Simon Prince, Dyfed-Powys Police, National Policing Lead for Rural and Wildlife Crime, said: "Crime affecting rural communities should never be underestimated; it can have a devastating impact on people and businesses. Criminals target isolated areas and hard to protect buildings looking for easily saleable items such as metal, gardening and agricultural machinery. By appealing for more eyes and ears across the countryside, telling the public what signs to look for and urging them to contact the Crimestoppers anonymous service, we can tackle these criminal gangs head on."
The crime-fighting charity is working with a range of organisations in this new initiative, including NFU Mutual, Sainsbury’s and Northern Powergrid, National Farmers’ Union, English Heritage, the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) - and of course local police.
A survey undertaken by NFU Mutual in 2012 found that an estimated 70 per cent of rural crimes are planned which means it is likely that someone, somewhere, has information on these incidents. Such crimes can deprive farm businesses of valuable equipment and livestock, and cause damage to damage churches and historic buildings.
Director of Operations for Crimestoppers, Roger Critchell, added: "No-one has anything to fear by contacting Crimestoppers as you will remain anonymous - no personal information is taken. Calls are not traced or recorded and you will not have to go to court or give a statement to the police. In the 26 years that Crimestoppers has been running we have never broken our promise of anonymity."
The charity will also be hosting a blog which can be found at www.blog.crimestoppers-uk.org Anyone with information or suspicions concerning criminal activity in the rural community should ring the Crimestoppers national 24/7 telephone number on 0800 555 111 or contact the charity via our Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org