A new police inspector has been appointed for north Northumberland and says her main priority is to combat travelling rural criminals.
Liz Hall has taken on the role, which will see her cover both the Alnwick and Berwick sectors, as well as areas in ‘rural Morpeth’, including Hadston, Red Row, Widdrington and Stannington.
The mother-of-two admits that overseeing such a large area – which is a new concept – does pose a challenge, but she is relishing the opportunity.
And she has set out her plan of action to tackle rural crime, including reinvigorating FarmWatch – which alerts residents to any criminal or suspicious activity and shares crime-prevention advice.
She said: “The size of the rural area is always a challenge and there are so many elements, from the night-time economies of Berwick, Alnwick and Amble, to rural crime and travelling criminals.
“But I think having one inspector covering this area will give a more consistent approach. I have a very good team and there is no change in the number of police officers.
“For us, the biggest challenge is targeting travelling criminals who commit opportunist crimes, but also target vulnerable and often isolated members of the community.
“I want to reinvigorate FarmWatch and I will be holding events to try to link in with farmers, as well as for all the main holiday parks. We will also be stepping up patrols.”
As part of this, she wants to set up a single point of contact for people to report rural crime.
She also says that police are determined to stamp out a spate of anti-social behaviour and criminal damages which has been occurring in Alnwick over recent months.
She takes over from Inspector Davy Garrick, in Berwick, Inspector Paul Truscott, in Alnwick, and the rural Morpeth area following a reshuffle in that sector.
Inspector Hall has 22 years of service, having worked in Gateshead, Sunderland and other parts of Northumberland. She lives in north Northumberland and one of her children goes to school in Alnwick. “I have a personal motivation to make this area a safe place to live,” she said.