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Commissioner funds high-tech equipment for Rural Task Force

Rural Task Force - Driffield Show

The Humberside Police Rural Task Force is now better equipped to continue its crack-down on rural criminals and protecting communities across rural North Lincolnshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire following a launch at Driffield Show on Wednesday 19th July.

New all-terrain vehicles will enable quick and easy access to farmland, woodland and coastal areas, while officer's kit has been enhanced with thermal imaging cameras, nano-trackers and specialist property marking and DNA kits. New automatic-number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras will also be used at strategic locations across the rural road network.

The new equipment is funded through the Rural Crime Project from Police and Crime Commissioner Jonathan Evison. The project has been backed by more than £110,000 to equip police officers and farmers. 

Jonathan Evison said: "Many of our rural communities have felt there was not enough being done to help protect their properties and livelihoods.

"The recent uplift of police officers has enabled the Chief Constable to create dedicated rural crime teams to focus more attention in those communities.

"Having more officers is excellent but they also need the specialist equipment to help them cut crime and protect our rural areas. I am delighted we have been able to part fund this project to help tackle rural crime in the East Riding and North Lincolnshire."

Sgt Kevin Jones from the Rural Task Force said: “Our aim has always been to disrupt, apprehend and prosecute the organised crime groups involved in rural crime, and to prevent the farming community from becoming victims of rural crime.

“This project will have a huge impact on how we tackle these incidents, and also means that we can provide people in our rural communities with new ways to protect their property in the event of a theft. The impact of rural crime to the farming and rural community cannot be underestimated, whether it be the emotional cost from being a victim, to the financial cost of replacing the high-value agricultural assets.

“We also have plans to organise days of action around rural crime hotspots to allocate our crime prevention products to victims and vulnerable members of the farming community. It is our hope that working so closely together through this project, we can reduce rural crime across the East Riding and North Lincolnshire.”

Chief Superintendent Darren Wildbore, said: "Humberside Police has worked tirelessly to tackle rural crime and helped to make our rural communities feel safer with a focus on disruption of criminal activities, apprehension, arrest, charging and prosecution of offenders.

"In 2021 the Rural Task Force was introduced and has now expanded following the success of this dedicated team.  These officers provide specialist knowledge and skills that significantly improves our ability to tackle rural crime across the Force and provide reassurance to our rural communities.

"With the support of this funding of specialist equipment the capability of the team has been enhanced further enabling increased proactivity to prevent and detect rural crime thereby increasing confidence in our rural communities."

Poppy Arnett, York East NFU county adviser said: “This significant funding boost is great news for NFU members and farmers in East Riding and North Lincs, who continue to be targeted by rural criminals.

“There is a current spike in the theft of tractor GPS units for example, which can cause tremendous problems at a time when supply chain issues mean they are not easy to replace.

“Having access to off-road vehicles, thermal imaging monoculars and more support on crime prevention, will help NFU members and the wider rural community work with the police to tackle crime much more effectively and remind criminals that rural areas are not the soft targets they perhaps expect.

“I would also like to pay tribute to the partnership that has come together to put forward the bid for this funding. Our success demonstrates the power of working together to tackle a scourge on the countryside that affects so many rural residents as well as their farmer neighbours."

Partners in the Rural Crime Project include the Police and Crime Commissioner, Humberside Police, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, North Lincolnshire Council and the National Farmers' Union.

Posted on Thursday 20th July 2023