RURAL community members joined together on Monday as Cheshire Constabulary outlined its commitment to tackling rural and wildlife crime.
More than 100 people attended the Rural Crime Conference at Willington Hall near Tarporley to hear from Chief Constable Simon Byrne, Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire John Dwyer, rural and wildlife crime officers and representatives from rural organisations.
They discussed how police and partner organisations work together to tackle rural crime in Cheshire, shared the Constabulary’s strategic vision and highlighted some examples of this work in action.
Attendees heard about the improved links between rural areas and the police, such as the police contact points outside stations, the development of police community bases, and additional recruitment – doubling the number of dedicated rural and wildlife specialist officers.
It was also an opportunity to promote the success of the ‘100 Days of Rural Crime’ social media campaign, as well as the increasing membership of police-led initiatives such as Rural Watch and Horse Watch.
Police & Crime Commissioner John Dwyer has been a long-time champion of protecting our rural communities.
He said: “Tackling rural and wildlife crime remains a key priority for me. It can affect a person’s whole way of life and can really impact on communities.
“Nationally, initiatives such as the National Wildlife Crime Unit are at risk but in Cheshire we’ve increased our focus – something I am particularly pleased about and I was delighted to see so many people at the conference representing our rural communities.”
The additional focus on policing our rural communities is producing positive results. Last year, there was a 12% reduction – 110 fewer crimes recorded – across Cheshire while there was a 17.5% increase in the solved rates for rural crimes.
Furthermore, Her Majesty Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) recently praised the Force for its effectiveness at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and rural crime is part of this.
Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: “We have invested significant effort in tackling a critical issue for a Force like Cheshire where two thirds of the community we police could be described as rural.
“It has been great to listen to progress and have a dialogue with local people who understand this issue about priorities for the year ahead.”