NFU calls for fairer police funding
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Analysis by the Rural Services Network suggests per-person direct funding in predominately urban forces will be £206 on average in 2018/19 compared with £167 in their more rural counterparts
Rural communities risk being left behind on police funding, according to details of provisional grants contained in a Home Office report.
The plans would continue to provide almost 24% less per head in rural areas, despite rising levels of concern about crime, and prompted a strong NFU response.
Analysis by the Rural Services Network suggests per-person direct funding in predominately urban forces will be £206 on average in 2018/19 compared with £167 in their more rural counterparts.
NFU land management expert Sam Durham said the countryside faced unique policing challenges and the NFU would continue to fight for appropriate resources.
He said “This report highlights concerns rural areas are being left behind to become a soft target for criminals”.
“The bill for rural crime is around £40 million and NFU members are experiencing fear and threats of violence. Vehicle theft, hare coursing and fly-tipping are contributing to widespread anger, frustration and worry and a recent NFU Mutual report found that being watched, or ‘staked out’, is now the biggest concern for people living in the countryside.”
Under reporting, sometimes due to intimidation, had masked the scale of problems and impacted on Government funding, he said.
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He added: “The report compounds the need for farmers to ensure that all crimes are reported, no matter how minor, but the NFU recognises isolated communities are often deterred because they feel intimidated by criminal gangs.
“We are working with police forces and crime commissioners to raise these issues and find solutions.”
The NFU’s Combating Rural Crime report calls for fairer funding, a better understanding of rural offences and a consistent approach to tackling them. The NFU sits on the executive board of the National Rural Crime Network of police and crime commissioners and has been active in the design and delivery of the National Police Chief’s Council rural strategy.
Recent work saw representatives of 31 forces and the Crow Prosecution Service meet with the NFU at its Warwickshire headquarters for a hare coursing seminar.
Responding to the Home Office grants figures, the NRCN said its rural forces “continue to be unfairly funded”.