New plans to fight rural crime in Northumberland after £250,000 funding secured

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More than £250,000 has been secured to help fight rural crime.

Northumbria Police has become the first force in the country to be awarded Safer Streets funding and it is launching a new Northumbria Partnership Against Rural Crime to kick-start plans.

A new package of rural policing plans that involve encouraging reporting, working with others to prevent crime and targeted activity to pursue offenders will be rolled out.

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Plans also include new technologies covering number plate recognition and thermal imaging as well as research and practical crime prevention tools.

A new Northumbria Partnership Against Rural Crime initiative has been launched.A new Northumbria Partnership Against Rural Crime initiative has been launched.
A new Northumbria Partnership Against Rural Crime initiative has been launched.

The enhance crime prevention activity will be delivered with the support of Northumberland County Council, Farmwatch, Northumberland Fire and Rescue, Northumberland National Park and Mountain Rescue Team, and Forestry England.

It is hoped the new police activity will build on what was a successful year for the force’s rural policing team which has recovered more than £1million of stolen farming vehicles and equipment since its launch in 2020.

The funding was secured by the office of Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, who believes it highlights the force’s commitment to the serious impact crime can have on farmers, their families and others who live in more isolated communities,

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She said: "The fact that we were the only force area to apply for this funding specifically with our rural communities in mind shows just how important these communities are to us.

“We may be known for rolling out some of the best rural policing operations in the country but there is always more that officers want to be doing to clampdown on criminal activity and protect our more isolated neighbourhoods.

“It’s vital that officers have the tools to do the job and there are some big plans in the pipeline to improve the technology around data gathering and intelligence sharing with other members of our countryside communities who work hard alongside our policing teams to keep the area safe and fight crime.

“Really stepping up efforts in our area is very much a joint effort - I don’t know of any other rural partnerships that are supported by such significant funding. There really is such a strong commitment to make sure rural policing is certainly not something that’s overlooked and I hope it will make people feel and be safer in the Northumberland area.”

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Inspector Garry Neill, of Northumbria Police’s rural policing team, added: “Tackling rural crime is a real priority for the Force and this funding can help us build on the significant work already under way.

“The team are passionate about protecting our most remote communities and we have seen some significant results over the last year – with a number of offenders brought to justice and huge amounts of stolen equipment recovered.

“We run dedicated operations throughout the year to hit criminals hard and make our rural communities feel safe. This funding will help us continue that – using new innovative tactics - and make a real difference in our fight against rural crime.

“I would like to thank everyone who continues to play their part, especially our rural crime volunteers whose contribution is invaluable. By working together, we can continue to protect our rural communities and bring justice against offenders.”