Rising rural crime is making communities in Bedfordshire ‘wary’ of visitors from the countryside

The NFU Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire vice-chairman said just reporting crime in a rural area can be a problem

Tom Church, NFU Mutual partner agent and group secretary, told the Policing and Crime Panel on Tuesday (April 5) that rural crime affects everyone, even those who live in cities.

“Because it makes people who live in these rural communities suspicious of everyone else, and when we have visitors, and we have cars parked in walkways, we stop and watch and wait,” a- he declared.

“I don’t want to chase people, harass them and prevent them from enjoying the campaign, but the problems we face are getting worse.

Mr Church said when his members report a crime it is classified as corporate theft and often they feel they have not received the attention they thought they should.

Chief Superintendent John Murphy said: “When a crime is reported to us, it can very quickly be categorized as a vehicle crime or a commercial crime, and therefore deemed to be of no particular impact.

“As a force, we depend on our ability to assess or eliminate a certain percentage of crimes that come into the force to allow us to tread water and be able to investigate the crimes that have the greatest chance of being solved. .

“But we have to be careful how we do it in part,” he said.

Freya Morgan, NFU Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire Vice President added that just reporting a crime in a rural area can be a problem.

“You’re on your cell phone a lot and we don’t always have a signal,” she said.

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“If you call 101 you’re on hold for forever, we don’t have time to stand still in one place for a signal so we end up calling 999.”

Ms Morgan added that there needs to be more communication from the police about reporting crimes online.

Mr Church said there was a sense of isolation among his members and clients

“We don’t see the police in the countryside, I drive a lot from farm to farm, business to business, seeing members and customers [the police] are not there, I want to see more.

“I want them to stop me when I take a quad on a trailer from A to B because I have nothing to hide.

“Whereas if this quad had just been stolen from a farmyard at home, I would be over the moon if [the police] pulled someone two miles down the road,” he said.

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye said: “Although it is very difficult for me to be able to say that we are going to have X number of police to deploy to rural areas.

“While we may not be able to prevent crime, we can certainly do much better in how we treat every victim of crime when they call and when they need help,” did he declare.

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