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Crime rate surging faster in rural areas than urban ones

This week saw Labour promise a new Rural Crime Strategy to keep communities safe, as new research from the House of Commons Library reveals that the crime rate in rural areas has surged by 32% since 2011. This is compared to 24% for urban areas, with a total rise of almost 130,000 reported offences, including almost 30,000 more offences of criminal damage and arson.

The Countryside Alliance has long been a vocal campaigner on rural crime and recognises this is a key issue for rural communities. We welcome the Labour Party’s call for a national rural crime strategy and it will bring a focus to tackling rural crime at the very heart of Westminster which has been missing for far too long. In the Countryside Alliance’s annual rural crime survey 50% of people who responded told us they don’t think the police take rural crime seriously and 35% said they have had a crime committed against them in the past 12 months. These figures are shocking and are reflected in the sentiment that rural communities often feel that the issues that impact them are not reflected in government policies. This year we will elect Police and Crime Commissioners and expect a General Election, and all politicians must recognise that tackling crime and increasing police visibility is a priority for the rural electorate.

The Labour leader's action plan includes:

  • Launching the first government-backed Rural Crime Strategy, ensuring cross-government coordination between the Home Office, Defra and other departments, and work with the National Crime Agency to take down rural organised crime gangs.
  • Increasing police patrols in rural areas, as part of Labour’s plans for 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs which will cover all communities and help free up response resource for rural policing.
  • Tougher measures to clamp down on antisocial behaviour, agricultural crime and drug dealing, with stronger laws to prevent GPS farm equipment theft, new powers to tackle livestock worrying, and requiring fly-tippers to clean-up their own mess and local drug enforcement teams.

On 2 May you can vote for your next PCC and we have launched our Police and Crime Commissioner Manifesto calling on those elected to work with rural communities in tackling this increasing problem in the countryside. 

Please contact your local candidates and ask them how they will improve your community and tackle the increasing problem of rural crime. Please send any responses you receive to

You can find out who your candidates are here.

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