The Home Office has awarded almost £40,000 to the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) which will look at innovative ways to reduce crime in rural areas, provide information and support for rural communities and share best practice.
The concept of a rural crime network was developed by the Rural Services Network (RSN), working alongside most of those Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) serving rural communities.
The network brings together 28 PCCs – as well as their police forces – with other national rural stakeholder organisers, including the Countryside Alliance, who sit on the executive committee.
Nick Payne, RSN officer said: “This award is a fantastic boost for what has been universally seen as a vital and unique initiative. The costs of the project are very modest when set against the significant improvements in performance that will accrue on a national basis through the effective sharing of information and best practice.
“It’s good to receive this welcome official recognition so early in the life of the project. The Home Office’s grant will be put alongside individual funding pledges from each of the PCCs and commercial sponsorship kindly provided by NFU Mutual.”
Countryside Alliance executive chairman, Barney White-Spunner added: “Crime is a big problem in many rural communities so we are very pleased that the Government has thrown its support behind the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN), of which we are a partner group. Sharing information and best practice, joined-up campaigns and a consistent crime prevention message are just some of the benefits of the NRCN. This funding from the Home Office will help us achieve these goals.”
The Home Office funding will be used by the network to encourage rural communities to participate in local crime prevention initiatives.
Policing Minister Mike Penning said: “The National Rural Crime Network will help support rural communities and businesses that are all too often targeted by ruthless criminals who consider homes and property in the countryside an easy target. This collaborative approach between North Yorkshire Police and dozens of PCCs around England and Wales will enable forces and neighbourhoods to become more resilient in preventing these crimes and protecting businesses and communities in rural areas.”
The NCRN is led by North Yorkshire PCC Julia Mulligan who said “Once fully operational the network will help enable a better response to the problems of rural crime and anti-social behaviour. This novel concept brings together over 68% of the PCCs across England and Wales with other organisations in the fight against rural crime.
“Whilst rural areas typically tend to be safer and less troubled by criminality and anti-social behaviour compared to their urban counterparts, the impact of rural crime can be greater on those unlucky victims in rural locations. This network ensures we give these crimes the focus and attention they deserve.”
The Countryside Alliance is helping to compile a list of rural crime priorities which will shape the work programme of the Network. Fly-grazing, heritage crime and general anti-social behaviour are on that list and we would welcome your suggestions too.
Please email [email protected] raising any issues you feel the National Rural Crime Network should be prioritising.