Almost two fifths of rural police forces in England and Wales do not have a rural crime team despite 60 per cent of rural business owners being worried about becoming a victim of crime.
Research by the CLA showed that 37 per cent also lacked a dedicated rural crime strategy, with only 10 forces delivering rural crime training for new recruits.
Only about half (53 per cent) have dedicated rural crime prevention tools, such as 4x4s, trail bikes, night vision equipment or drones, and 27 per cent have no police officer of inspector rank or above leading the department.
The survey scrutinised the work of 38 police forces.
CLA president Tim Breitmeyer said the results were ‘simply astounding’.
He said: “Farming is a stressful business where many are working on tight margins.
“Having to deal with replacing lost machinery, repairing a vandalised barn, or clearing up and bearing the cost of someone else’s fly-tipped mess, just adds unnecessary stress, eats away at meagre profits and takes up valuable time.”
The research found the average cost of a rural crime incident was £4,800.
As part of its plea, the CLA is calling for each rural police force to implement its five recommendations, which include having a dedicated rural crime strategy in place by May 2021.
It also suggests that every rural police force should have a dedicated rural crime team with an identified point of contact; undertake an audit of the equipment required to combat crimes in their locality; provide rural crime training for all new recruits; and identify their ambitions for rural areas.
One CLA member said: “We are acutely aware that police lack equipment, manpower and in some cases enthusiasm, to tackle rural crime.”
Mr Breitmeyer added: “Clearly, budgetary constraints are an issue, and we would like to see more forces being given the tools to combat rural crime seriously, but many have failed to match tough words and pledges to even the most tangible actions.”