Friday, 07 April 2017 18:04

Crime taskforce celebrates anniversary

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Crime taskforce celebrates anniversary

A POLICE team dedicated to serving rural communities is celebrating its first anniversary – and its 100th arrest.

One year in, and North Yorkshire Police's Rural Taskforce says it is leading the way dealing with crime and other issues that affect countryside communities.

Now the team have pledged to keep up the pressure on rural crime over the coming 12 months.

In 2015, the National Rural Crime Survey discovered that rural communities were not only living in fear of crime being committed against them, but that they were under-reporting crime by up to a third.

    See also: Cost of rural crime 'exceeds £800m'

In response to this, and following a meeting involving more than 100 stakeholders, North Yorkshire Police's Rural Taskforce was established in April 2016.

The team is made up of an Inspector, Sergeant, seven Police Constables and seven Police Community Support Officers, based across the districts of the county.

In addition, there is also an intelligence analyst and a rural policing coordinator, ensuring that the Taskforce is responding to trends in crime flexibly and proactively by using information gathered from colleagues, communities, and partners alike.

The Rural Taskforce builds on the work already carried out by North Yorkshire Police's Neighbourhood Policing Teams, response officers and proactive policing colleagues in tackling rural crime head-on.

In its first year, taskforce officers made 101 arrests, reported 71 people for summons and seized 39 vehicles.

Officers are regularly present at livestock markets and sales – and work closely with Rural Watch scheme who provide support to the police in their area.

Inspector Jon Grainge, who leads the taskforce, said: "The team have had a very busy – and very productive – first year of operation.

"Crucial to our success is working with the community, talking to local residents and businesses, understanding the issues that affect them and offering advice wherever possible."

Inspector Grainge said there had been thousands of conversations during the year.

"That two-way communication is vital, and we need people to continue to tell us about suspicious incidents.

"Particularly in rural areas, local residents and businesses can act as the eyes and ears of the police, helping us clamp down on crime and anti-social behaviour whenever it occurs.

"Local people know when something or someone is suspicious, out of place or unusual in your community and we need you to tell us about it."

The Taskforce has also been addressing wellbeing issues, recognising that that people in rural communities can be vulnerable.

Leaflets have been distributed to publicise the support available, and officers are working with partner agencies to ensure help is provided where necessary.

The taskforce is working on many more initiatives, with further operations and campaigns planned throughout 2017.

North Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan said: "Back in September 2015, I conducted the largest ever rural policing survey through the National Rural Crime Network.

"The results were stark and showed that crime in rural areas often went unreported and levels of satisfaction and trust in policing were considerably lower than in the urban areas.

"Just five months later, we launched the largest rural taskforce in the country here in North Yorkshire, and are now at the forefront of best practice when it comes to policing a large, rural population.

"Should the National Rural Crime Network choose to run the survey again, which we hope to do, I have no doubt the feedback from people living and working in rural North Yorkshire would be much improved."

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