Farmers in Thames Valley 'must act as ears and eyes for police in countryside’

Rural organisations urge members to assist new Rural Crime Taskforce
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Two farming organisations have pledged to forge a closer partnership with the Thames Valley Police Rural Crime Taskforce to reduce crime in the countryside.

Representatives of the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) met with the new taskforce team, headed up by Inspector Stuart Hutchings, on Monday, October 17, to discuss how to make the Thames Valley a more hostile environment for rural criminals.

The Rural Crime Taskforce, which has been in operation since April, has already had considerable success in its stop and search approach and in recovering stolen goods.

From left: Assistant Chief Constable Tim De Meyer; Berks, Bucks and Oxon NFU chair Alex Nelms; CLA Bucks chair Robert Ruck-Keene; Chief Constable John Campbell; CLA Berks chair Andrew ChandlerFrom left: Assistant Chief Constable Tim De Meyer; Berks, Bucks and Oxon NFU chair Alex Nelms; CLA Bucks chair Robert Ruck-Keene; Chief Constable John Campbell; CLA Berks chair Andrew Chandler
From left: Assistant Chief Constable Tim De Meyer; Berks, Bucks and Oxon NFU chair Alex Nelms; CLA Bucks chair Robert Ruck-Keene; Chief Constable John Campbell; CLA Berks chair Andrew Chandler

Berks, Bucks and Oxon NFU chair Alex Nelms, who hosted the meeting at Kensham Farm near High Wycombe, said afterwards: “Thames Valley Police Rural Crime Taskforce has recovered more than £1 million worth of stolen kit since the spring and has a very high, above average, success rate, with 50 per cent of stop searches having a positive outcome.

"They have a proactive approach to tackling hare coursers and new legislation appears to have resulted in an increased number of prosecutions.

“But farmers must act as the ears and eyes for the police in the countryside and report all crimes and all incidents, no matter how small, and even after the event, as the police need intelligence.

"If they can identify trends, then they can alter shift patterns and allocate resources to address crime hotspots and issues.”

CLA South East regional director Tim Bamford said: “Thames Valley Police’s Rural Crime Taskforce is having an impact on crime, and we are pleased that officers are working closely and effectively with rural communities and organisations.

“The CLA is keen to continue working together, as there’s more still to do, but the taskforce’s work so far has been positive.

“We would also remind all victims of rural crime to report each incident, to help the police build up a true picture of the problems and then resource them accordingly.”

Both organisations have pledged to work with Thames Valley Police and encourage their members to remember the three Rs:

Report – report all incidents.

Record – record the serial numbers/frame numbers of all farm/plant machinery, and photograph equipment.

Review –regularly review farm and estate security.