Along with the team, PCC Martyn Underhill made visits to rural locations across the county, including farms at Chantmarle, West Stafford and North Holworth.
PCC Martyn Underhill said, “Before the Rural Crime Team was in place, fear of crime was high among rural residents. Having met with a number of farmers, rural business owners and residents during my patrol visit, it’s clear to see that fantastic progress has already been made. Our rural communities are now more engaged with Dorset Police and confidence in reporting is up.”
Made up of a dedicated rural crime co-ordinator, rural engagement officer and a rural crime analyst, the team was launched on 15 August 2016 as a result of a pledge made by the PCC during his re-election campaign.
Since then, the team has trained fellow officers, call handlers and radio operators to ensure that Dorset Police is dealing with reports of rural crime consistently and efficiently. Using their particular expertise, the team has provided guidance during investigations, conducted a number of targeted operations to seize property stolen from rural communities and worked closely with surrounding forces and enforcement partners.
PC Claire Dinsdale, rural crime co-ordinator, said, “It’s great to have the support of the PCC in raising awareness of the types of crime affecting rural Dorset. Farmyards, farmhouses, barns and outbuildings hold a lot of valuable equipment and machinery ,which appeals to thieves. Isolated buildings pose the greatest risk as they are easy to access without being disturbed.
“We know that this has a severe impact on victims and their livelihoods. Our focus is on crime prevention and we need the public’s help with this. The key thing we would ask rural communities to do is invest in early intervention alarms. Installing this wireless technology ensures any intruder on your property will trigger an alarm when invisible beams are crossed, immediately alerting you to their presence. This technology disrupts offenders and helps us bring them to justice.”
PCSO Tom Balchin, rural engagement officer, said: “As well as working to make important crime prevention advice easily accessible, with the support of our communities we have been building a stronger intelligence picture to pave the way for more effective policing. We have recently charged three people with poaching offences, thanks to a great response from farmers reporting suspicious callers, vehicles and related registration numbers near their farms.
“We have a number of measures available to us to disrupt offenders’ activities, such as Criminal Behaviour Orders, but promptly reported intelligence is vital in the fight against rural crime. We encourage you to report any crimes or suspicious incidents with as much detail as possible online at dorset.police.uk and sign up to rural alerts at dorsetalert.co.uk.”
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