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New Chiltern Rural Crime WhatsApp Group

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

The Forum’s November meeting was told that a WhatsApp group was in the process of being set up to help with the work of the Rural Crime taskforce within the Chiltern area.

This is now up and running, as The Chiltern Rural Community WhatsApp Group. The group will be run by the public, with Nicole Johnson, the administrator being responsible for admitting persons into the group. If you would like to sign up please e-mail Nicole at clerk@pennparish.org.uk

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.

Direct engagement with the Neighbourhood Team will assist the Police in where to target patrols and in which areas to raise their visibility. It is important to report all crimes. Information helps in targetting resources and developing intelligence.

If you think an offence has or is about to be committed, then please REPORT it. 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 also report or pass information about rural crime anonymously to the Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.

Rural Crime Update

News of the WhatsApp Group was included in Sgt Darren Walsh’s Rural Crime update, dates 21st February. These are the key points:

The cost of rural crime and the local impact according to the NFU’s research cost the UK economy £43.3m in 2020. Major issues identified nationally by the National Farmers Union were:

  • Tractor GPS theft – COST £2.9m
  • ATV/Quad theft up 3% – COST £2.5m
  • Dog attacks on cattle rise by over 10%
  • Fly-tipping
  • Farmers falling victim to cyber scams with 46% of businesses indicating a security breach or attack in the last 12 months.
  • Agricultural Vehicle Theft down 2% – Cost £9.1m

In Chiltern & South Bucks area 145 rural crime cases were reported in 2021. The most reported crimes were:

  1. Criminal Damage 34 instances
  2. Theft 30 instances
  3. Burglaries 20 incidents (7 residential)
  4. Arsons 7 instances
  5. Sheep attacks 6 instances
  6. Hare Coursing 5 instances – it is likely that other hare coursing events may have been alternatively crimed. A review of suspicious incidents suggests some hare coursing incidents are being alternatively recorded as criminal damage or suspicious incidents..

So what are we doing?

Over the coming year we will be having a number of crime reduction campaigns working with farmers to strengthen their security. All rural crimes will be reviewed by a local neighbourhood officer for investigative opportunities. The teams PCs will also be proactively targeting criminals. Last year our operations led to the arrest of 61 people, 89 people being reported and 52 cars being taken off our roads.

The Rural Crime Task Force Team is already making Thames Valley a more hostile place for criminals to commit rural crimes. One case involved a theft of an Ifor Williams trailer in Aylesbury. The investigation led them to a caravan and trailer sales site in Hampshire where they observed horseboxes being sold for cash. This led to a number of arrests. I am glad to say that already we have had this team visiting our area to assist us with our operations.

The National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service now has extra resources looking at rural vehicle crime. They report that the thefts of GPS are still high on the agenda together with an increase in smaller plant items and quad bikes across the south of the force, Hampshire and Sussex. They are also applying pressure on manufacturers to make such items worthless if stolen.

Offenders are using drones and doing prior recces on farm locations and dealerships prior to thefts so would encourage all suspicious activity to either be reported on 101 or to crime stoppers. 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.

I hope you will agree that we are making the Chilterns and South Bucks a more risky place for criminals.

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