Zero Staffordshire Police Officers dedicated to tackle rural crime

23 Apr 2024
Sheep in a field

Zero Staffordshire Police Officers dedicated to tackle rural crime

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservative government of “neglecting” rural communities as new data reveals that only 258 police officers and staff are dedicated to rural crime teams across England and Wales - just 0.1% of the overall workforce. It means fewer than one in 1,000 police officers around the country are dedicated to rural crime.

Through a series of Freedom of Information requests, the Liberal Democrats have uncovered how many officers and staff are assigned to rural crime teams in each police force. 37 forces provided responses.

Rural crime is “crime and anti-social behaviour occurring in rural areas”, and includes many specific types of crimes that are unique to the countryside like livestock theft. These teams are focused on preventing and solving rural crime, with specialist knowledge, equipment and skills.

Not a single police force had more than 1% of its officers and staff deployed to rural crime teams.

Shockingly, 9 police forces admitted to having no specific rural crime team in place - including Staffordshire, Norfolk, West Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

These disturbing revelations come as rural crime remains on the rise. NFU Mutual’s 2023 Rural Crime Report revealed that in 2022, the cost of rural crime across the UK rose by 22%, to an estimated total of £49.5 million.

The Liberal Democrat are arguing that every force should have a specialist coordinator in their rural crime team, in line with recommendations from The National Rural Crime Network.

Last year, Liberal Democrat MP Richard Foord tabled a Bill that would require the Home Secretary to bring forward a strategy for tackling rural crime.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Staffordshire Police Fire and Crime Commissioner Candidate, Councillor Alec Sandiford said:

“Yet again, we are seeing the shocking neglect of our rural communities from this Conservative government.

“Local communities are worried sick about the impacts of rural crime, and to have not a single officer dedicated to tackling this serious issue is shocking. No wonder so many cases are going unsolved and criminals are getting off the hook.

“Right across the country, Police and Crime Commissioners have failed to tackle rural crime, including here in Staffordshire. This is unacceptable.

“Staffordshire police needs more funding so resources can go into what really matters - improving frontline policing, including properly staffed rural crime teams.

“Officers do an incredible job under tough budget restraints due to Conservative cuts. Morale is low and we need to give officers what they need - more equipment, higher pay and bring back local stations”

Published and promoted by Alex Wagner, on behalf of Alec Sandiford. Both at 30 Ridgway Drive, Blythe Bridge, ST11 9HN. 

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