The new region’s new Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) must treat fighting rural crimes such as theft, hare coursing and fly tipping as a high priority, says CLA East.
Ahead of the PCC elections on May 5, the organisation, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, has launched a document for candidates urging them to tackle five key issues.
The five priorities the CLA want tackling are:
• THEFT: Metal, fuel, machinery and livestock thefts blight the lives of farmers and rural businesses.
• WILDLIFE CRIMES: The new commissioner needs to engage with gamekeepers and landowners to prevent hare coursing and poaching.
• FLY TIPPING: Removal of waste costs farmers millions each year, damages crops and endangers livestock.
• POLICE PRESENCE: 27 per cent of rural crimes goes unreported because of lack of confidence in the police’s.
• FAIR FUNDING: It is unfair rural areas are policed less because they are less densely populated, leaving people at a higher risk of crime because of where they live.
CLA East regional director Ben Underwood said: “The CLA wants the incoming PCC to work with rural communities to combat crime in the county and protect our rural businesses. They will have the power to make a difference.
“Rural crime cost the economy an estimated £800million in 2015, with the average cost to victims £2,500 for rural households and £4,000 for businesses. While 20 per cent more people in rural areas are very or fairly worried about becoming a victim of crime compared to the national average.
“The election is an important opportunity to ensure all candidates not only understand the cost and impact of rural crime, but are also committed to reducing it.
“A major concern is that more than one in four crimes in rural areas goes unreported. The PCC needs to work on increasing confidence in police.
“Better co-ordination and communication with landowners and gamekeepers is required to prevent wildlife crimes such as poaching and hare coursing, which has been a real problem in the county in recent times.”