Rural Crime Day of Action
Today marks the National Rural Crime Day of Action. So, what actions are being taken by Sussex Police to keep our rural communities safe?
In late 2017, Sussex Police appointed Temporary Superintendent Emma Brice and Sergeant Tom Carter as dedicated leads for rural crime, to address the vulnerabilities and crime types which are specific to rural areas. Since then they have launched a revised, force-wide, rural crime strategy which focuses on a joint approach from police and partners in tackling this crime type and outlines how they are improving training for new recruits.
With the increase in the amount residents pay for policing in their council tax and the release of £17 million from reserves, Sussex Police will be recruiting 800 officers (200 more) by 2022. Every officer that comes through these recruitment tranches will benefit from specific rural and wildlife training, allowing the Force to incorporate rural policing into a ‘business as usual’ approach, without the need to create specialist teams. This means that going forward; any officer or staff member will provide an effective initial response to rural issues.
As part of this new strategy Sussex Police have also launched ‘Countrywatch’, a partnership initiative to help strengthen and protect our rural communities against crime by sharing information and providing practical prevention advice. By signing up to Sussex Countrywatch, subscribers will receive regular updates straight into their email account from police and partner agencies to keep up to date with the latest rural matters.
This year’s National Rural Crime Strategy and my own public engagement campaign showed that locally rural crime is still under-reported. This scheme will also encourage its subscribers to report crime and recommend others to sign up and do the same, creating a network of eyes and ears in rural communities that feed directly back to the police.
Rural crime still remains one of my top priorities and I will be continuing to question the Chief Constable on the progress of these initiatives. I remain strongly committed to ensuring that crimes occurring in our rural communities are taken as seriously as those in urban areas around the county and that these residents feel that they too have a voice. With this in mind, I will be holding a discussion on rural crime on Tuesday 15th January in Battle as part of a series of targeted community engagements across the county.
I want to get a deeper understanding about public levels of confidence and expectations of the service police should and could provide. This valuable feedback will help inform the policing priorities for next year.