Police chief announces crackdown on rural crime in Suffolk with specially trained officers

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Suffolk is launching its rural policing strategy.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Suffolk is launching its rural policing strategy. Left to right, Edward Vere Nichol from the CLA, Rachel Kearton (Assistant Chief Constable), Tim Passmore (Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner) and Rachel Carrington from the NFU. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Specially trained officers are set to combat rural crime across Suffolk as part of comprehensive crackdown.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Suffolk is launching its rural policing strategy.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Suffolk is launching its rural policing strategy. Left to right, Edward Vere Nichol from the CLA, Rachel Kearton (Assistant Chief Constable), Tim Passmore (Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner) and Rachel Carrington from the NFU. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

In a move welcomed by farming and countryside lobby groups, police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore announced a new rural policing strategy on Wednesday, March 1, which involves 14 of the county's 18 Safer Neighbourhood Teams, varying in number from two or three up to five or six, each having a dedicated rural crimes single point of contact.

Some of these have already been trained, with more undergoing a course in May to equip them to deal with a range of crimes from fly-tipping and hare coursing, to modern-day slavery and organised crime.

It follows a local policing review unveiled in April last year, and a horseback volunteer initiative launched nearly two years ago at the Suffolk Show, which now has more than 30 volunteers and has proved highly effective in providing the constabulary with extra sets of eyes and ears in remote locations.

Already they were making a 'tangible difference', said Mr Passmore.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Suffolk is launching its rural policing strategy.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Suffolk is launching its rural policing strategy. Left to right, Edward Vere Nichol from the CLA, Rachel Kearton (Assistant Chief Constable), Tim Passmore (Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner) and Rachel Carrington from the NFU. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown


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Beneath the county's 'prosperous veneer' were cases of rural deprivation and domestic harm which needed to be brought into the light, he added, as well as issues such as modern-day slavery.

'We are geared up, we are equipped and if you want to come to Suffolk we'll be after you and we are going to get you,' he warned potential criminals who view the remote parts of the county as soft spots.

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The officers will be a direct point of contact for rural people worried about crime, he said. Although many of the crimes committed were the same as in rural areas, there were a number which were specific to rural locations.

'We wanted to make sure there are enough trained officers to deal with those crimes,' he said.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) welcomed the new strategy.

Suffolk CLA chair Edward Vere Nichol said rural communities were 'probably feeling more vulnerable'. 'This is why this is so important and it addresses it full-on.'

Assistant chief constable Rachel Kearton said it would mean resources are used more efficiently. 'This is also about the confidence and the feeling of vulnerability in our communities and addressing that.'

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