But new evidence is helping local forces ‘start to understand some of the things we are really taking for granted and have been taking for granted in the wrong way in the past’.
A regional police chief with responsibility for stamping out rural crime has admitted the problem has been ‘ignored’ in the past.
At NFU council in Stoneleigh this week, Lincolnshire Police deputy chief constable (DCC) Craig Naylor said new evidence had revealed criminals carrying out ‘low-level’ offences which carry jail sentences of less than two years were actually involved in wider organised crime.
DCC Naylor said: “More than two years is the definition of serious crime.
“But a lot of the crimes which happen in the rural environment are less than that in their own right.
“The reason we have ignored it is we have not seen the link between the person who has committed the low-level crime and what they do with the rest of their time.”
DCC Naylor added the National Police Chiefs’ Council was taking steps to improve policing in rural communities with its first ever Rural Affairs and Wildlife Crime Strategies, which have helped local forces ‘start to understand some of the things we are really taking for granted and have been taking for granted in the wrong way in the past’.
North Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan said there would also be a need to push for more funding from Government.
“The noise out of government at the moment is very urban focused and I am concerned about that for us,” she said.
Her call follows concerns raised by farmers and others over an unfair distribution of policing resources, too much focus on urban areas and a lack of adequate policing response.
Ms Mulligan said: “I have been a victim of rural crime myself and I was determined when I came into office to try and make the rural people heard because I think we receive a bit of a raw deal at the moment.
“One of the big challenges we have got is around serious and organised crime. There is an enormous gap there, not just in understanding what the criminals do but understanding the impact it has on you.
“That is underestimated hugely at the moment and it is really important we get to grips with it.”