Monday, September 16, 2019

‘Overwhelming response’ to farm crime report

September 10, 2019 by  
Filed under News & Business

Police and farmers must pull together to combat crime in the countryside, says a rural criminologist and senior researcher at Harper Adams University.

Research published by Kreseda Smith this summer detailed the impact of rural crime on farmers, the level of confidence farmers have in the police and other factors that influence farmers’ decisions when it comes to crime prevention.

Many farmers feel that the police treat them as second-class citizens, said her report. This means some growers and livestock producers do not engage with crime prevention – despite knowing they should.

Waste of time

Some farmers do not report crimes to the police because they feel it is a waste of their time and they will not get a response. The research concludes that there is much the police, insurers, and the media can do to better respond to farm crime.

Ms Smith said: “A lot of the farmers I’ve spoken to in the past – and people I’ve spoken to since the report came out – have said ‘this is what we’ve been trying to say for a long time and it’s great somebody outside the farming community has said the same thing.’

“It’s something that I’m looking to do some more research around.”

Stress

Some farmers who contributed to the study reported trouble sleeping after becoming victims of farm crime. Others considered leaving the sector altogether due to the stress of being targeted by criminals, or feeling unsupported by the wider policing community.

But Ms Smith cautioned against judging the police too harshly.

The challenge went beyond the way the police handle farm crime to the wider criminal justice system, she said. “Everyone needs to talk to each other and pull together to try and improve things; it’s not just down to the police or the farmers – it’s got to be a collaborative effort.”

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