Helen Morgan MP, North Shropshire Liberal Democrats

Extra officers needed as cost of rural crime rises

3rd August 2022

North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan is calling for rural crime teams to be strengthened after new research revealed that the cost of theft in the countryside has risen by 40 per cent.

Rural crime cost Shropshire nearly £1 million in 2021, according to NFU Mutual claims, with the county in the top 10 worst affected counties in the UK.

While Shropshire’s £996,283 cost in 2021 was a reduction on the 2020 figure, costs for the first quarter of 2022 were 40 per cent higher than in 2021 suggesting that thieves are upping their activity again.

Helen Morgan MP said: “Farmers are the backbone of our local communities and are under enough pressure from the cost of fuel, feed and fertiliser and the Government’s botching of changes to support payments without having to worry about being targeted by thieves.

“Dedicated rural crime teams are really important for clamping down on criminals who target countryside areas, however these teams need to be properly resourced to be effective.

“Community policing needs to be restored so that we have visible officers who are focused on preventing and solving crimes and keeping rural families safe.”

Helen is calling on the Home Secretary and the Police and Crime Commissioner to increase rural crimefighting resources to make sure farmers in Shropshire are protected.

It comes amid increasing concern for the mental health of farmers who are worried for their future of their businesses and are also at risk of rural isolation.

Helen added: “Not only do victims suffer a financial hit to their business but their mental health is put under extra strain, with stress and anxiety already serious problem for many farmers.

“As criminals adapt, so must our police forces, so it is really important more officers with the relevant specialist knowledge are dedicated to tackling rural crime.”

Writing in NFU Mutual’s Rural Crime Report, Harper Adams University lecturer Dr Kreseda Smith said: “Overall, general confidence in the police among rural communities remains low, with many still reporting feeling like second class citizens.”







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