My team and I went to Lockington to deliver my leaflet about improving rural policing. The church roof here was stripped away by heartless thieves who wanted the lead and did not care about the damage done to the local heritage and culture.
In the 20 months to August 2019 there were over a hundred thefts of lead from the roofs of churches in Leicestershire & Rutland– more than anywhere else in the country. Other historic and religious buildings are also vulnerable.
If I am elected to be Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire and Rutland I will:
- Continue to work with and support our excellent network of Heritage Watch volunteers;
- Join the Church Commissioners in persuading the Government to strengthen the Scrap Metal Dealers Act.;
- Work with the Serious and Organised Crime to target and disrupt the transport routes that takes so much of this metal out of the country;
- Ensure that each Neighbourhood Policing Area has at least one officer trained in offering crime prevention advice to owners of vulnerable buildings;
- Investigate the possibility of match-funding with parish councils and other bodies for crime prevention equipment, including alarms, security lighting and the planting of prickly shrubs;
- Engage with the NCA to target those believed responsible as the culprits are often travelling criminals and crime knows no boundaries.
A place like Lockington needs to see a wider strategy to deal with Rural Crime. I want to see more police in our rural areas. I want to see high visibility policing in our rural areas. And I want our police to communicate frequently with the law abiding public. I think we should have:
- A Rural Crime Co-Ordinator who will bring together all the agencies who can help prevent crime in rural areas, and tackle it when it does happen;
- Rural Crime Packs available to residents and business to help them protect themselves and ease the fear of crime;
- A Rural Crimestoppers system to provide a quick, confidential channel that people can use to pass on information about crime and criminals.
- An online Rural Crime Hub a one stop shop for farmers and other rural businesses giving advice on crime prevention, how to report crime, who to call and two-way communication with police;
- Regular public meetings with the Police and Crime Commissioner and police officers;
- Effective support for Rural Neighbourhood Watch Schemes;
- A wide-ranging and properly supported Volunteers on Horseback scheme;
- Support for new legislation to make trespass a criminal offence.
Those are my ideas on what we can do to tackle crime in rural areas, but I'm always looking for the views of people who live in our countryside.
Please remember to take my Rural Crime Survey, which you can find here: https://www.rupertmatthews.org.uk/campaigns/rural-policing-campaign