Staffordshire Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Arnold wants a spotlight shone on so-called ‘hidden’ crimes in rural communities.
Theft of machinery, vehicles and livestock receive the most public attention and according to recent figures, cost the UK farming industry over £39 million a year.
The figures were released this week by NFU Mutual, which calculates the cost based on claims to the insurance sector and shows a slight reduction in Staffordshire of 4.3% compared to the previous year, but there are many issues still to address
Mrs Arnold leads on rural crime issues at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and works with the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) to identify problems unique to rural communities often caused by isolation.
Speaking about the issue, Sue Arnold commented:
“I’m encouraged by these latest figures which show progress for Staffordshire, but we mustn’t become complacent. We’ve had some success in tackling traditional, farm crimes, but we can’t ignore other issues in rural communities such as domestic abuse and modern day slavery.”
Mrs Arnold is also reminding businesses of their social and corporate responsibility to help eradicate the scourge of modern slavery and human trafficking.
“These crimes can have a devastating effect, but all too often go unreported. Being a large, rural county, Staffordshire has its challenges in terms of policing and requires the support of communities to make a real difference.”
Police in Staffordshire have introduced a number of measures to tackle rural crime. These include green patrol routes that take marked police cars into key areas to help to raise the police presence, deter criminals and reassure rural communities. Police officers have also been issued with DNA kits, which assist in the detection of perpetrators of poaching and hunting with dogs.