Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has welcomed the response to a survey looking at crime in rural communities.
The survey, led by the Rural Crime Network and supported by Commissioner Baird, was launched in May looking at a number of areas including financial, safety and security.
The questions asked people if they’ve been a victim of crime. They also asked about how people are affected by anti-social behaviour and whether they feel the community pulls together to improve their neighbourhood.
Initial findings show 17,227 people completed the survey from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Of these responses, 12,369 were from people living or owning businesses in rurally classified geographic wards according to a report on the survey. The data will now be analysed in full, following which, considered recommendations will be put forward.
Commissioner Baird is a member of the National Rural Crime Network and is committed to tackling this crime type.
She said: “The report comes out at a time when the Government is consulting on police funding. Northumbria has suffered the worst, losing 23 per cent of its budget, 15 per cent of officers and 37 per cent of its staff – this affects policing in all areas including our expansive rural communities.
“We need the Government to deliver a formula that is fair and looks at the economic challenges facing police forces and to support the income generated through council tax, which here in Northumbria, is the lowest rate in the country, yet we have had to endure the largest percentage cut.”
In rural parts of the Northumbria Force area, various operations are running to tackle rural crime. One example is Operation Recovery, targeting criminals travelling into Northumberland to steal expensive equipment from farms or outbuildings. Working with the community, police have improved confidence, made arrests and prevented further offences. Officers in rural Northumberland also regularly visit farms and communities to ensure they have adequate security and give out crime prevention advice and tips.
Anyone with concerns or information on rural crime can contact police on 101, extension 69191. In an emergency call 999. For more information on the NRCN, visit www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net