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22 February, 2016

New Rural Policing Strategy launched

Representatives from North Yorkshire’s rural communities gathered at Thirsk Racecourse yesterday (Monday 22 February) to hear the Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan, and Chief Constable Dave Jones, announce a new approach to tackling rural crime in North Yorkshire.

The Rural Policing Strategy, which was launched at the meeting, will enhance North Yorkshire Police’s capacity to prevent rural crime, respond to incidents, and engage with rural communities.

A key part of the strategy is the establishment of a Rural Policing Task Force.  Believed to be the largest in England, the Task Force will be launched in April and will be the only unit of its type in the country to be led by an Inspector. It will also include:

  • a Sergeant
  • seven Police Constables
  • seven Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)
  • a rural policing coordinator and
  • an intelligence analyst

Officers in the Task Force will work alongside neighbourhood teams, Special Constables and volunteers to increase engagement with rural communities, focus on investigation into rural crime, and provide bespoke crime prevention advice to those at risk of criminality.

As part of the strategy, Julia Mulligan has also agreed to increase the number of safety camera vehicles available for use in rural areas.  The vehicles will be fitted with Automatic Number Plate Recognition Technology to help police to protect rural communities against criminals travelling into North Yorkshire from outside its borders, and reduce the number of people killed or injured on the county’s 6,000 miles of roads.

Under the strategy, the force will also be introducing an enhanced community messaging service which will alert communities across the county about policing issues as they happen.

Julia Mulligan said: “North Yorkshire is the safest place to live in the country. But research suggests that our rural communities don’t feel as safe as their counterparts in towns.  A survey I commissioned as Chair of the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) showed that there is large-scale non-reporting of crime in the countryside and levels of satisfaction with the police are considerably lower than they are among town-dwellers.  I was determined that things needed to change which is why I welcome the new rural crime strategy and all in entails. To have the largest rural crime task force in the country shows how seriously the issue is being taken.  With its new strategy, North Yorkshire Police is showing its determination to tackle rural crime head on, meet the needs of our rural communities and to be at the forefront of best practice when it comes to policing a large, rural population.  Road safety is a key concern for people in the countryside and so I am pleased to announce more safety camera vehicles which will have the dual role of protecting our borders from travelling criminals and in turn keep us all safer.”

Chief Constable Dave Jones said: “This new strategy demonstrates our drive and commitment to keeping all communities safe – irrespective of whether they are in the centre of a town, or in the remotest part of our beautiful countryside.  Tackling rural crime is core business for North Yorkshire Police, and all of our officers and staff play a role in tackling rural concerns.  However the Rural Policing Task Force will provide dedicated specialist resources, so we can strengthen our service in rural areas and make a real difference to people living in those communities.”

The Rural Policing Strategy is available on North Yorkshire Police’s website at www.northyorkshire.police.uk/ruralcrime