Warwickshire Police’s Rural Crime Team, which was launched in October 2019, has now almost doubled in size thanks to increased investment by the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, funded through the Council Tax precept.
Three additional officers have been recruited into the team and with a further vacancy due to be filled shortly. This takes the total number of dedicated Rural Crime experts within the force to ten, with a further fifteen trained Wildlife Crime Officers around the county.
The new officers will be based in Stratford, Atherstone and Rugby, allowing for an additional shift to be implemented and for the team to increase their presence across the whole of the county.
Day-to-day, the Rural Crime Team specialise in key types of rural crime by responding to rural offences, working with rural communities to address local issues, providing crime prevention advice, running regular proactive operations and patrolling in their dedicated beat areas.
Alongside the expansion of the team, a dedicated Strategy has now been published to provide clarity around the force’s approach, focus and commitment to tackling rural offences. A copy of the strategy can be found here: https://bit.ly/3iZMR7a
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe made boosting the Rural Crime Team one of the priorities for the additional funding raised through local Council Tax contributions this year. He said: “Crime in our rural areas is a major concern for people across Warwickshire and I have been keen to ensure that there is additional resource and expertise within Warwickshire Police to help boost the focus that is placed on both preventing and detecting offences outside of our urban populations.
“The original introduction of the Rural Crime Team was as a result of the priority I made in previous years to invest in frontline policing and, with the success of this approach now proven, I am pleased to see the team expand further.
“With dedicated teams now established for both the north and the south of the county and a comprehensive strategy to tackle offences in place, I want to reinforce the message that rural crime will not be tolerated anywhere in Warwickshire. We know there is much work to be done, but I hope this sends a signal to everyone about the determination to make a real difference in our rural communities.”
Following the expansion, Rural Crime Lead for Warwickshire Police, Inspector Alison Wiggin, said: “As a largely rural county, sadly we do suffer from rural crime and alongside other counties, we have seen an increase over recent years - especially in relation to livestock and caravan thefts.
“We’re really pleased to have received this additional investment to help us to continue tackling rural crime within our communities.”
Chief Constable for Warwickshire Police, Martin Jelley, said: “Rural crime is an extremely important issue which can cause huge distress and financial hardship to victims and communities, and we are determined to address this.
"The team has had a significant impact in its first 10 months, and I am extremely pleased to see the addition of these new officers, which will help to strengthen the team and enable us to make our rural communities even safer.
"While we recognise there is still more work to be done, we have made significant investments to tackle rural issues over the past ten months and we remain committed to this.
"I’d like to thank the public for their support to enable this increase to take place, and am confident our rural communities will really see the benefits from these additions.”
To learn more about the Rural Crime Team and see what they are doing in your local area, visit www.warwickshireruralwatch.co.uk (where you can also sign up for regular alerts), or follow them on social media - @WarwickshireRuralCrimeTeam (Facebook) and @RuralCrimeCops (Twitter).