County Durham and Darlington are beautiful places to work and live. We’re really lucky to have great, rural open spaces. And it is, on the whole, a very safe place to live. We’re not it immune to crime, however, and the nature of where we work and live has natural implications for the police.
In 2016 we set out a vision for rural policing: “People living in the rural areas of County Durham and Darlington will feel safe. They will know that their concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour will be understood and addressed by the Police and partners.”
And, in 2017, through the ‘Rural Policing Statement: One Year On’ update, we set out the work done to making that vision a reality. We told you about the additional four wheel drive vehicle with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology for our rural teams to use, and the training given to call-handlers to help them better understand rural issues – and several other rural-focused initiatives.
This year’s update continues to recognise that policing in rural areas is often different to policing in towns and sets out what has been done to address crime and anti-social behaviour, and what more can be done – by all of us, working together.
This year the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) released their Rural Affairs and Wildlife Crime strategies. At the same time, the spotlight has been shone on people’s experience of crime in rural areas in this year’s National Rural Crime Survey. Now is as appropriate a time as ever to restate our commitment to keeping rural communities safe – and, in so doing, to update you on our work.
Following the publication of the National Rural Crime Survey in 2015 and hearing some local concerns, PCVC Ron Hogg asked residents in our rural communities about issues affecting them.
Taking these views into account, and working with the Police, Ron published a Rural Crime and Policing Statement: 'Rural and Safe' in February 2016, which set out the issues facing rural communities, and what the Police were doing to address them.
These issues included: theft of livestock & equipment from farms, worry livestock, fly-tipping, speeding and unsafe driving, poaching, trading in endangered species and damage of protected sites and habitats.