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Chiltern South Bucks Rural Crime Update

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

The following Rural Crime update has been circulated by Sgt Darren Walsh:

Countrywatch – focus of spring campaign

Our recent spring rural crime campaign focused on engaging with the rural community to make local farmers and other members aware of the Country Watch scheme. Country Watch members were asked to review their security practices and ensure they had strong working procedures in place for their staff to follow. This included security tips around access to sites, building security, vehicle security, tools, machinery and livestock. I distributed security anti-tamper stickers to farms and members for their tools. If you missed out please e-mail me and I will arrange for a local officer to visit you.

Summer Campaign: working with Travelling Community

For the summer campaign, we have been working with the Travelling Community. A number of site visits have taken place with the aim of better engagement. We will also be advertising the Rural Spotters Scheme, to help the Police as the eyes and ears of the rural community.

New WhatsApp Group

Whatsapp has been used to create a direct link between the rural community and the Police. Chiltern & South Bucks are looking to implement this method of communication following its success in Oxfordshire.

The Whatsapp 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 for communication.

We are looking for a volunteer to be the administrator for the community resilience group, who has a good community understanding and contacts, and has an enthusiastic approach to improving community safety. Please let me know.

Crime Trends

A review of reported rural crime since May showed the following common themes: 8 instances where people had been seen on enclosed land or property in suspicious circumstances, thefts of 2 caravans, a Land Rover, 2 trailers, a horsebox and 2 generators. Five incidents of trees being cut down were also reported in. There has been a big reduction on reported attacks on sheep so hopefully the signs we gave out are having an effect.

With the changes in technology, keyless car crime is taking place, offenders no longer have to enter your house to steal your car or cars. Many of the public are still unaware of this risk and the use of Faraday boxes is recommended. Land Rovers and Range Rovers are particularly being targeted. £17 for a Faraday box could stop you losing your £50,000 motor.

Local and Forcewide enforcement

Proactively we have carried on working with other departments and police forces in targeting travelling criminals and trying to deny them the use of the roads of Chiltern & South Bucks. A week of action in May resulted in 10 arrests, 11 people reported and 12 vehicles being seized. A week of action (Well 3 or 4 days) in June resulted in 3 arrests, 11 people being reported and 3 vehicles being seized. In July 9 people were arrested, 3 were reported and 4 vehicles seized. In August 4 people were arrested, whilst 7 were reported and 4 vehicles were seized.

Thames Valley Police’s new Rural Crime Taskforce will shortly be operational and will be targeting key rural crime offenders.

Businesses Against Scams – free webinars

Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards are pleased to host several Businesses Against Scams online sessions focussing on issues directly relating to the farming industry.

In the last year, there has been a 66% increase in scams, with farmers being particularly vulnerable due to isolation in the workplace due to the pandemic and Brexit uncertainty, causing financial loss and stress.

These free webinars aim to help farmers learn how they can protect themselves from frauds and scams. There will be also an opportunity to discuss any problems and issues arising from these topics, in a confidential manner. Sarah Reeve (Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards officer) and representatives from the Farming Community Network will be present at the webinar to provide advice with regards to animal health and welfare, pastoral and practical help.

12th Oct – 6.30pm
26th Oct – 12.30pm
11th Nov – 6.30pm

To book your FREE place please see our Eventbrite page Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards Events | Eventbrite

Resources and Reporting

Links to The Farming Community Network, a charity and voluntary organisation that provides practical and pastoral support to the farming community:
Facebook @TheFarmingCommunityNetwork
Twitter The Farming Community Network (@FCNcharity)
LinkedIn The Farming Community Network | LinkedIn

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 783 0137 or do it online.

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