NFU calls for fairer police funding

Farm leaders have stepped up their calls demanding fairer funding for rural police forces.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) said rural communities were being "left behind" despite rising levels of concern about crime.

Police funding plans would continue to provide almost 24% less per head in rural areas than in their urban counterparts, it said.

Details of likely police force grants are contained in a provisional Home Office report.

Analysis by the Rural Services Network suggests per person direct funding in predominantly urban areas would be £206 on average in 2018/19, compared to £167 in mostly rural forces.

NFU chief land management adviser Sam Durham said: “Rural areas have unique policing challenges and it is essential funding is available to take these specific needs into account.

"This report highlights concerns they are being left behind to become a soft target for criminals."

The bill for rural crime in the UK was around £40 million and many NFU members were experiencing fear, intimidation and threats of violence.

Vehicle theft, hare coursing and fly-tipping were contributing to widespread anger, frustration and worry, said Mr Durham

A recent NFU Mutual report found that being watched, or ‘staked out’, is the biggest concern for people living in the countryside.

Mr Durham said under-reporting of crime was typical in rural areas – and this had impacted funding.

"These findings compound the need for farmers to ensure all crimes are reported, no matter how minor, but the NFU recognises isolated rural communities often feel intimidated by criminal gangs.

"We are working with the government, police and police and crime commissioners to raise these issues and find solutions."

The NFU’s Combatting Rural Crime report calls for fairer funding, a better understanding of rural offences and a joined-up, consistent approach to tackling them.

Responding to the provisional grants, the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) of rural police and crime commissioners said: "Police forces in predominantly rural areas continue to be unfairly funded.

"While urban areas do, undoubtedly, face particular challenges, so do rural communities.

"These may not be as well publicised or understood, but their impact is substantial and the NRCN is disappointed efforts have not been made to reduce the gap.”

"The NRCN previously highlighted the issue in its Fair Funding for Rural Policing report.


Sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates.