Rural Crime Focus for Community Meetings

Farmers and landowners are invited to attend a series of events in the coming weeks, targeted at supporting the rural and farming communities within our region and hearing their concerns about crime and how it affects them.

The events will be hosted by South Yorkshire Police and the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner who are together launching a Rural Watch scheme to encourage closer working and sharing of issues, in order to tackle rural crime.

One event will take place in each district of South Yorkshire and will provide an opportunity to meet members of the Rural and Wildlife Crime Team, find out about their activities and raise issues of concern.

The outcomes from these meetings will be used to shape the team’s forthcoming priorities and will be an opportunity for South Yorkshire Police to provide updates on current work being undertaken as well as to take feedback and questions from members of the community.

The events will take place on the following dates (venues will be confirmed once attendees have registered):

Barnsley – Monday 24 April at 6.30pm

Doncaster – Wednesday 3 May at 6.30pm

Rotherham – Tuesday 16 May at 4pm

Sheffield – Thursday 18 May at 4pm

Rural crime is often linked to Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) who target and exploit rural communities across a range of crime types, for example organised plant theft, livestock theft, burglaries targeting firearms, poaching and hare coursing.

It is an issue for large parts of South Yorkshire but often tends to go unreported. These events aim to encourage farmers and landowners to share their issues and to encourage reporting of all crimes to enable South Yorkshire Police to be more responsive and effective.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, said: “I often speak to farmers and those who live in rural areas whose livelihoods are blighted by crime and anti-social behaviour on their land. The effect of offences within a rural environment can often be far-reaching and have a lasting impact on both individuals and their families, as well as the wider community.

“By hearing the concerns of our rural residents and how crime, and the fear of crime, affects them, we can get a better understanding of the needs of our rural communities and ensure policing services are available to meet their needs.”

“If your land is affected by anti-social behaviour and/or criminal activity, or you wish to learn about and inform the work of the Rural and Wildlife Crime Team, I encourage you to attend one of the meetings.”

Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley of South Yorkshire Police said: “Rural crime can have a devastating and detrimental impact on residents and businesses alike. It leaves those living in rural communities and farmers and business owners feeling even more isolated. Theft of machinery or damage to crops and fields can significantly affect farmers, not just financially but it can also impact on insurance premiums, food prices and damage local communities.

“At South Yorkshire Police we want to ensure that we are in a position to respond appropriately. We’re improving our visibility in our rural communities and working with them to respond quickly to reports of crime.

“We hope that these engagement events will be the start of an improved network to tackle those individuals intent on causing harm and disruption to our rural and farming communities. They will provide an opportunity for farmers and landowners to meet numbers of the Rural Crime Team and to share experiences so that we can develop a greater understanding of what the current rural crime issues are.”

If you would like to attend one of these events please register your interest here. Details of the venues will be sent following registration.

The National Police Chiefs Council has developed a Rural Affairs Strategy which sets out police priorities in this area:

  • Farm machinery, plant and vehicle theft – including quad bikes, modern and vintage tractors, tools and equipment from outbuildings.
  • Livestock offences – including theft, worrying and attacks.
  • Fuel theft – including heating oildiesel and petrol.
  • Equine crime – including horse trailer and horse box theft, horse theft, tack theft, fly grazing and neglect.
  • Fly tipping – including household and commercial waste, waste through organised criminality.
  • Poaching which crosses over with the wildlife priorities – including hare coursing, deer poaching, fish poaching.
  • Heritage crime – it is also important to recognise that rural crime and anti-social behaviour have an adverse impact on the historic environment and heritage assets found across the United Kingdom – including the theft of metal from church buildingsunlawful metal detecting and interference with historic shipwrecks.