Police officers in Derbyshire have committed to throw rural crime under the spotlight.
The Derbyshire rural crime team was launched earlier this week in a bid to help ‘shut the gate’ on rural crime and better implement police resources.
The new team will be made up of police officers, members of Special Constabulary and police volunteers who will also lean on the expertise of the force’s 27 wildlife crime specialist officers.
Hardyal Dhindsa, who previously pledged to offer greater protection to the rural community, said he was proud of their work.
He said: “This is a fantastic resource for rural communities and will ensure residents and countryside businesses have access to a single, dedicated support team to address those issues that threaten their livelihoods or quality of life.
“Rural crime costs the economy millions of pounds every year, not only jeopardising business survival but undermining the confidence and feelings of safety of those who make their home in the countryside.”
Mr Dhindsa said the reinstated Derbyshire Alert will allow the police to optimise awareness work, including upping its use on social media to warn residents of live crime threats to encourage ‘prompt action’.
"It is critical that local people know exactly who to turn to for help on crime prevention to protect their homes and businesses,” he added. “But most importantly that someone is available to listen to them.”
Leader of the team Inspector Dave Nash urged there was more to the scheme than solely protecting crimes against people, but actually an additional focus on the protection of wildlife and the landscape.
He said: “Whether it is the theft of a quad bike, sheep rustling, damage or theft to farm machinery or breaking into outbuildings – all of them can greatly affect someone’s livelihood.
“And it is not just crimes against people that we will be focusing on; we will also be helping to protect our wildlife, alongside our specialist wildlife crime officers.”
NFU county chairman Angela Sargent said she was looking forward to working with the team.