Tuesday, 01 September 2015 14:32

Rural policing campaign launched

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural policing campaign launched

A NATIONAL campaign has been launched to highlight the importance of rural policing.

The "Rural Policing Matters" campaign was launched by the National Rural Crime Network on Monday (1 September).

NRCN research due to be published next month shows trust in policing is much lower than residents of urban areas, said NRCN chairman Julia Mulligan.

Only one third of people living or working in rural areas believe the police are responding to issues of concern to them compared to two thirds nationally, she warned.

Rural crime is also significantly under-reported, said Ms Mulligan, who is also Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire.

The network is urging the government to reconsider proposed changes to how police forces are funded, and is encouraging people to respond to a government consultation.

Ms Mulligan said: "There is real concern both from representatives of rural communities like our network, and those communities themselves, that without proper resourcing for rural police forces than some crimes and anti-social behaviour might not get the attention they deserve."

She addded: "Trust in policing is already very low, especially when compared to urban residents, and if the government doesn't sufficiently recognise the needs of rural people, and therefore rural policing, that trust will only diminish.

"We may then be in a vicious cycle of under-reporting, because of lack of trust and resources to deal with issues, which will then lead to further under-reporting."

The network argues that a proposed new funding formula fails to take into account the unit-cost of policing a rural area.

It says the formilar also fails to reflect the majority of work the police do which is not in fact crime-related – such as road safety or responding to welfare issues.

The network is encouraging as many rural residents as possible to respond to a government consultation on the issue.

It argues that the new police funding formula should recognise the "inbuilt complexities" of dealing with crime in rural, isolated areas.

Meanwhile, the network is due to launch a "rural policing matters" petition.

Ms Mulligan said: "If you are a concerned member of a rural community, we want you to make your voice heard by responding directly to the government's consultation, and to sign the 'rural policing matters' petition."

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