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Chiltern & South Bucks Rural Crime: Autumn–Winter Newsletter

Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

At the Chiltern & South Bucks Policing Issues Forum meeting on November 29th, Sergeant Darren Walsh updated those present on the putting together of a Rural Crime task force. Below is the Rural Crime newsletter issued by Sgt Walsh later in the week.

Welcolme to the latest C&SB rural matters newsletter.  Current trends show that horse boxes, trailers, Range Rovers and Land Rovers (even older models with a proper key) are being targeted by thieves.  There has been an increase in reports of hare coursing taking place.  This is a cruel activity resulting in large groups of people turning up at country locations, frequently causing damage to gain access to fields, so they can carry out this activity.  If you suspect this is going on please do report it to the police. 

My team has been proactively working with other departments and police forces in targeting travelling criminals, aiming to deny them the use of the roads in Chiltern & South Bucks.  There have been excellent results disrupting a variety of crimes.  Since January 58 people have been arrested on our operations, 82 people have been reported and 54 cars were taken off the road.  The message we want to send out to criminals is that if you come into C&SB there is a higher chance you will be caught and punished.

Nationally work between Forces and other countries has taken place resulting in property being recovered and stopped from being cloned and sold on.  Current crime trends include the theft of high value Tractor GPS and control systems.  Offenders were carrying out reconnaissance of suitable properties in the daytime and carrying out the thefts overnight with the use of electric scooters.  Top Tip: remove GPS systems where practicable and consider overtly marking the property with farm name and postcode to make them unattractive to would be thieves.

In previous newsletters I explained how Thames Valley Police changed the definition of rural crime, have trained staff to identify rural crime, and introduced a new Rural Crime Taskforce covering the whole of the force.  Figures for October 2021 showed there had been 298 rural crimes in Thames Valley.  Thirty occurred in Chiltern & South Bucks; the fourth highest area in Thames Valley behind Cherwell & West Oxon, West Berkshire and South & Vale.  

Summer – Autumn Campaign:  The summer rural campaign focused on engaging with farmers and making them aware of frauds.  In the last year, there’s been a 66% increase in scams, with farmers being particularly vulnerable.  Bucks & Surrey Trading Standards hosted several Businesses Against Scams online sessions focusing on issues directly relating to the farming industry.  Multiple travellers sites were visited and engagement took place with the owners and managers of these sites.

Autumn – Winter Campaign:  Your NHP team will be working with the Equestrian Community in highlighting common issues this time of year.  The Horse Watch and Rural Spotters lead Helen Evans has given us some guidance on what people can do to protect their horses.

“Now Winter is here, rugs are a priority for our horses and buying new ones can be very expensive. A new Rambo is around £250, so don’t risk having rugs stolen off your horse’s back. Put your postcode in big letters on both sides of the rug. You can use fluorescent paint, or iron on ready-made letters and numbers. Use any way you can to identify it as yours and deter thieves. If you are worried that it will spoil the look of your rug, don’t fret, as your horse will be more than happy to oblige!  One MO that is popular with perpetrators is to steal rugs off horses, and then when they are replaced with new ones, they steal those as that is what they are after.”

“Trailers have been targeted by thieves recently, and the biggest hold up to recovery is the lack of information provided by the victim. After reporting the crime to Police, if you are posting on social media please include the following – date, location, description, model, colour, chassis and registration number, Police force area and crime reference number. Keep all this information in your records in case of emergency.  Remember to report all suspicious incidents to the police, even if your item is not insured, as it will assist police in prioritising resources.

There are many varied ways of protecting your property and new technologies available. There are some very good trackers that cost as little as £40, but whatever system you use, buy the best you can afford and make your kit identifiable.”

The Rural Spotters Scheme has been put on hold until the New Year.  We will be holding a training event for people interested date tbc.  Joining the Rural Spotters can help provide a visible deterrent in rural areas. For more details contact helen.evans@thamesvalley.police.uk

WhatsApp:  My WhatsApp lead PC McGregor will be rolling out the Chiltern WhatsApp Group in January.  The group will be run by the public, with an administrator being responsible for admitting persons into the group.  A code of conduct will need to be agreed to before members can use the platform.  The purpose of the group is not a crime reporting tool, but to share information about suspicious incidents to make both the community and Police aware. The direct engagement with the Neighbourhood Team will assist the Police in where to target their patrols and in which areas to raise their visibility.

The latest Policing Issues Forum has ranked Fly Tipping as a big concern to our community.  We will be looking at ways in which we can target offenders and support our partners in bringing them to justice.

It is important to report all crimes. We need information to target resources and develop intelligence.  Tell us if you think an offence has or is about to be committed. If it is happening now, ring 999. If you have information that does not require an immediate response report it to Thames Valley Police online or by calling 101.  You can report or pass information about rural crime anonymously to the Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.

Yours sincerely,
Darren Walsh
PS 3675
Amersham, Chalfonts & Missendens
Chiltern & South Bucks Neighbourhood Police Team

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