May 21 2013 Latest news:
By MICHAEL POLLITT, Agricultural editor
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Farmer and Norfolk police and crime commissioner Stephen Bett has promised that rural crime will remain a force priority.
In a meeting with the Norfolk National Farmers’ Union, Mr Bett, who farms in west Norfolk, pledged that rural crime initiatives such as Operation Randall would continue.
He was keen to develop a partnership approach to tackling crime.
Norfolk county NFU chairman Ken Proctor, county adviser Alex Dinsdale, and mid-Norfolk group secretary Amy Walker briefed Mr Bett about the industry’s key concerns.
“While crime continues to blight farm businesses across the county, it’s reassuring to know that, in spite of budget cuts, Norfolk police recognises the need to take rural crime seriously,” said Mr Proctor.
“As the commissioner gets settled into his new role and identifies priorities for the county’s policing the NFU will continue to work alongside the police and the NFU Mutual to help reduce rural crime within the county.”
Mr Bett praised Operation Randall, which tackles rural crime and farm thefts. He said it and Radar, aimed at tackling bogus callers and rogue traders, would both continue, as will Norfolk’s close collaboration with Suffolk police. This has been effective at tackling cross-border crime.
“It was really helpful to meet up with those who represent a significant and influential interest group within Norfolk and to hear their perspective on rural crime and security issues in the county,” said Mr Bett.
“They made helpful representations on the draft Police and Crime Plan which I will take into consideration. I also took the opportunity to outline the financial challenges facing me regarding future funding of the police service.”
Mr Bett said that he intends to organise annual meetings in the east and west of the county to bring together those living and working in rural areas with the police.
He hopes the meetings will provide an effective dialogue with the police and encourage more effective networking and the sharing of ideas and intelligence with farmers, gamekeepers, and residents in rural areas.
The importance of Farm Watch schemes was also discussed during the meeting.
In the county, former Norfolk police officers Tony Bone and Danny Cracknell run Farmwatch Ltd, a membership body funded by subscription that provides a service to a variety of farming and non-farming businesses and organisations across the county.
As well as providing advice and sharing information among the many subscribers to the service, Farmwatch also advises on and installs the very latest in covert and overt crime reduction technology from CCTV able to distinguish human movement from that of a rabbit or fox, to invisible motion detectors which send an alert and images to your mobile phone when someone is snooping around.
The company says it has a proven success rate and employs a number of means to make life difficult for criminals who target members’ property.
Mr Bone said: “When criminals see a Farmwatch sign up on a property or a perimeter fence, they know they’re in for a difficult time.”
For details about Farmwatch, visit www.farmwatchltd.co.uk, email Farmwatch@aol.com or telephone 01603 758158.
The website of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk is www.norfolk.pcc.police.uk.
Farmers are advised to quote Randall when calling Norfolk police on either 999 or the non-emergency number, 101.
Police in Norwich have launched an investigation after a woman claimed in a tweet she had knocked a cyclist off their bike.
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