More needs to be done to help communities in rural and remote areas. Crime affects the lives and businesses of many who live in our rural communities. From machinery, fuel and livestock theft to wildlife offences and heritage crime, it has a detrimental effect on those living in remote areas. In 2018 alone the financial cost to the UK was £49.9 million - an increase of 12% on previous year. In our area alone (The Midlands), this amounted to £9.8 million and an increase of 10%.* The impact of crime and the threat posed by criminals can take its toll on victims not just financially but also on their health. Living in a remote area increases the vulnerability of residents. Worryingly, we know that many more offences in remote areas go unreported. This indicates that the true effects of crime in rural areas are underestimated and not fully understood.
More needs to be done to ensure that those living, working and enjoying our rural communities have confidence that any crime related issues affecting them will be taken seriously, acted upon and understood.
Other types of crime, such as anti social behaviour, drug dealing, assault and burglaries also present further challenges when perpetrated in small town and villages in rural areas. Very often they will require a different approach to incidents in cities and urban areas. In May 2017, Derbyshire Police set up a rural crime team of 5 staff in Matlock to cover Derbyshire Dales then expanded this in August 2019 to 1 Sergeant and 7 Police Constables to cover the whole of Derbyshire. But providing services across large, sparsely populated geographical areas like Derbyshire is challenging and requires added resources and understanding of the complexities and specific needs of our rural communities.
Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Angelique Foster explained,”People living in rural communities can be more vulnerable because of their isolation and distance from support services. The answer to dealing with this and tackling crime robustly and effectively has been given by our Conservative Government. We are funding the recruitment of 20,000 extra Police Officers in the biggest Police recruitment drive in decades, 6,000 in the first year alone to be shared among the 43 forces in England and Wales.” She added,”Getting more Police on the streets is what residents are asking for. That is my priority.”
* NFU Mutual 2019 Rural Crime Report