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'Farmers feel in state of siege' - rural crime failures must be addressed

Police and the Home Office will not get a grip on agriculture-related crime and anti-social behaviour unless there is cross-departmental co-operation in Government and a consistent approach in dealing with criminals.


Olivia   Midgley

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Olivia   Midgley
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'Farmers feel in state of siege' - #RuralCrime failures must be addressed

The NFU has called for a rural police team in each UK force as well as the creation of a new government taskforce to address failures in dealing with incidents in the countryside.

 

It came as statistics from the 2017 Commercial Victimisation Survey showed rural crime has spiked since 2013.

 

NFU deputy president Guy Smith said: “These new figures will come as no surprise to farmers on the ground who often feel in a state of siege from the criminal fraternity.

 

“Crime in the countryside is not a simple fix, and it needs commitment and resource from both the police and Government. With suspected links to organised crime, any solution needs cross-departmental co-operation in Government to address this issue with a consistent approach.”

 

The union’s president Minette Batters said the Government often prioritised urban areas.


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She said: “Fly-tipping in an urban are is never tolerated because it is a waste hazard. However, in the countryside it is an even bigger hazard because it is dumped onto soil and it is toxic in some cases, but it is not deemed a priority issue. We do not value land the same as we do with urban areas."

 

Ms Batters also criticised the Government for failing to take dog attacks on livestock seriously – something she said was a clear animal welfare issue.

 

“You cannot just pick the low hanging fruit that serves for political purposes and image identity. If you are serious, you have got to do the whole lot," she added.

SURVEY RESULTS

 

The results show the proportion of businesses experiencing agriculture-related crime and anti-social behaviour has risen since 2013:

  • 35 per cent of businesses experienced trespassing or unauthorised access of land or buildings
  • 26 per cent of businesses experienced poaching, hare coursing or illegal hunting
  • 23 per cent of businesses experienced quad biking or use of other vehicles on their land
  • 15 per cent of businesses experienced livestock worrying

Source: 2017 Commercial Victimisation Survey

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