‘Farmers and rural communities are vulnerable to criminal activity and we need the police to work with us to stop this plight on the farming industry’. This was the message from NFU Cymru members at a recent emergency meeting with Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn.
A resurgence of rural crime, including dog attacks on livestock and quad thefts, across the Dyfed-Powys Police force area has prompted a call by NFU Cymru for more police resources in rural areas.
NFU Cymru Livestock Board Chairman Wyn Evans, who himself has recently been the victim of rural crime after a savage dog attack on his farm, chaired the meeting and said: “The establishment of dedicated rural crime teams within the Dyfed-Powys Police force has been a positive step. However there needs to be more resources at their disposal and the deployment of additional police officers who have good local knowledge and understanding of our rural areas to tackle the increasing criminal activity that we’re seeing across our rural communities.
“I’m not only concerned about the financial losses that farmers are having to deal with, but also the vulnerability that farming families are feeling and the impacts that being victims of rural crime can have on their mental health and well-being.
“It is only through farmers and rural communities working together in partnership with local police and dedicated rural crime officers that we will stamp out rural crime. I urge my fellow farmers to help by reporting every rural crime incident to the police, no matter how big or small, and to report any suspicious activity. We need to build an accurate picture of the level and extent of the problem of rural crime, and having accurate statistics will strengthen our lobbying for the increased level of resources and boots on the ground that are desperately needed.
“I’m grateful to Dafydd Llywelyn for meeting with us and for listening to our first-hand experiences as victims of rural crime. There were a number of specific actions agreed at our meeting with Dafydd Llywelyn and we will meet again in the spring to follow up on progress and to continue to work together in partnership to tackle the problems associated with rural crime.”
Dafydd Llywelyn, Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner said: “This is a critical time for the rural community as farmers go into the lambing season, and in light of these recent, concerning incidents, I welcomed the opportunity to hold a meeting with NFU representatives and our Rural Crime Team in the Force to identify ways of working collaboratively to tackle the issues.
“It is very important that we engage with local partners and the farming community to share our knowledge and best practice on tackling rural crime and dealing with rural issues and I’m grateful to all that attended the meeting.
“I am confident that Dyfed-Powys Police are making a big difference in fighting rural crime in this area, and that they will continue to do so. I have highlighted my continual commitment to supporting the Rural Crime Team and I will be looking to ensure that we respond to the needs and expectation of our rural communities when we will be reviewing our Rural Crime Strategy this year.”