I'm a big supporter of community cohesion policing - when the police work alongside parish councils, neighbourhood watch schemes and other groups to promote crime prevention and crime detection, while driving down crime. To work at its best, that involves the police investing the time and resources to support properly the groups that are working in the community. In a place like Walcote that will be done best alongside a proper rural crime strategy.
The perception is that rural areas offer easy pickings to criminals due to the great distances involved and secondary or unclassified roads, both of which slow down police response times. That must end. Our local police are doing their best with limited resources, but more needs to be done.
I want the police in Leicestershire and Rutland to:
- Deploy more police to rural areas.
- Ensure higher visibility policing in our rural areas.
- Establish 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;
- Make Rural Crime Packs available to residents and business to help them protect themselves and ease the fear of crime;
- Build an effective Rural Crimestoppers system to provide a quick, confidential channel that people can use to pass on information about crime and criminals.
- Maintain 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;
- Hold regular public meetings with the Neighbourhood Policing area team present;
- Ensure effective support for Rural Neighbourhood Watch Schemes;
- Rebuild a wide-ranging and properly supported Volunteers on Horseback scheme;
- Work closely with East Midlands Special Operations Unit, National Crime Square and the Border Force to tackle the way gangs dispose of the vehicles;
- Ask Roads Policing vehicles to check farm vehicles and plant, especially movements after dark;
- Lobby for new legislation to make trespass a criminal offence;
- Work with the East Midlands Special Operations Unit to target and disrupt the networks through which stolen farm machinery, farm vehicles and livestock are sold;