South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, has today (Thursday 4 June) launched the 2020 rural crime survey.
With usual face-to-face meetings no longer possible due to Covid-19 social distancing measures, the first South Yorkshire rural crime survey has been developed to ensure the public in rural communities still have the opportunity to raise any issues they may have.
Following meetings between Dr Billings and members of the rural community over the past 12-18 months, several issues are already being addressed by South Yorkshire Police, with a continued commitment to ensure the rural community feel heard and represented.
South Yorkshire Police are increasing the number of wildlife and rural crime officers and have adapted to using new location technology, which enables officers to respond quicker and more efficiently.
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Rural crime affects people in over 10% of South Yorkshire.
Small and sometimes isolated communities can be left in fear and livelihoods can be affected by rural crime, so it is important that voices are heard and specific policing needs are met.
“As we continue to make the best of the circumstances we find ourselves in, we have developed a survey which will enable the rural communities to continue to tell us what is going well and what we could do better.
“This survey is the first of its kind for the rural community, and I hope it will ensure continued dialogue until we can all, once again, come together and support each other as we should.”
Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley said: “We are privileged to have some beautiful rural areas across South Yorkshire.
“Unfortunately, the communities within these areas can be affected by crime and we work closely with them to understand the issues they face.
“Rural crime is an important issue and we take reports of it very seriously.
“Rural crime can have devastating impacts on our countryside, wildlife and also the livelihood of our farming community.
“Over the past three years, we have increased the number of our dedicated wildlife crime officers up to 50, and with the re-introduction of neighbourhood policing teams, we are now able to adapt our policing to reflect local needs and priorities.
“The wildlife crime officers work within our neighbourhood and response teams but within the coming weeks we will be introducing our first full-time wildlife crime officer who will have no additional duties.
“We support the survey being carried by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and welcome the results to help us adapt our policing focus and style.”
The survey will run from Thursday 4 June until Thursday 18 June 2020, the results will be calculated and then presented to Chief Constable Stephen Watson of South Yorkshire Police to help shape the future of rural policing.
The survey is available here: Rural Crime Survey