Pictured is Chief Constable Mark Collins of Dyfed-Powys Police with Garry Williams, NFU Cymru Carmarthenshire County Chairman and Dafydd Llywelyn, Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner at the Dyfed-Powys Police rural crime launch
NFU Cymru has welcomed the announcement by Dyfed-Powys Police that they will now implement a dedicated rural crime strategy in the force area.
The launch of the new strategy, which took place at this year’s Royal Welsh Winter Fair, will include four rural crime teams, one in each Dyfed-Powys division.
This announcement comes after months of meetings and lobbying by NFU Cymru. NFU Cymru Carmarthenshire County Chairman, Garry Williams has spent the last few months campaigning on the Unions behalf. Garry, who along with many others in his local community, has been a victim of rural crime himself, has been a key advocate in the setting up of this rural crime strategy and said: “I am extremely grateful to the Dyfed-Powys Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, for their work in the development and implementation of this rural crime strategy.
“I have invited officers and the Chief Inspector out to the farm, met with Adam Price AM to raise rural crime concerns with him, met with Dafydd Llywelyn, as well as meeting with PC Simon Gibbard-Jones once a month to discuss the issues that we are facing more and more as farmers.
“After each of these meetings we put in place an action plan with a to-do list, for both myself, with the support of Aled Davies, NFU Cymru Carmarthenshire County Adviser, and the officers we meet with. This ensured that the matters were at the forefront of our minds at all times and has meant that it was possible to set up these units.”
Rural crime figures for Dyfed-Powys from 2016/17 show that more than 500 crimes had been committed on farms, These offences included burglaries targeting agricultural buildings and fields, with livestock, quad bikes, trailers, machinery, gates, tools, scrap metal stolen, as well as criminal damage caused to crops, land, buildings, fences, machinery and other property.
Garry believes that farmers and rural communities working together with these new dedicated rural crime officers will be a huge step in the right direction. “Stamping out rural crime is a two way relationship. It is not just about one party doing something about it but instead farmers and the police working together to help deter thieves and finding a way to reduce the crime rates in rural communities.
“Farm related thefts are under-reported. This means that the figures for the number of thefts taking place over the last year could actually be a lot higher than first thought. It is vitally important that every rural crime incident is reported to the police, no matter how small it may seem it counts and I urge you all, to report anything suspicious, or any theft that has taken place, in order to ensure that we know exactly what we are dealing with when it comes to rural crime.”
Dyfed-Powys Police will develop the specialist rural skills and knowledge of police officers, staff and special constables, to maintain a visible presence and provide and effective response to crimes and incidents in rural and farming communities.
Superintendent Robyn Mason, the force lead for rural crime said: “Dyfed-Powys Police’s vision is to safeguard communities and keep the vulnerable safe, and we must understand the needs of the communities we serve across the four counties covering two-thirds of Wales.
“The force area is incredibly diverse in its make-up and it would be impossible to target crime in all areas in the same way. Isolated communities and remote locations can be made vulnerable by their very nature, and a responsibility is placed on policing to respond to these challenges.
“We also understand that the impact of crime can be higher in rural areas, where the livelihoods of farmers and small holders, as well as economic opportunities presented by tourism, can be seriously affected.
“With this in mind, we have written a rural crime strategy specifically tailored to our remote communities, who we want to ensure, can feel safe and be safe.”