There’s good news and bad news for us in today’s papers. The bad news is rural crime is real, not just about stolen eggs and missing animals. The good news is that we can tackle it.
The Telegraph reports that city drug gangs are moving into England’s shires. Organised criminals are targeting market towns and seaside resorts. There’s no evidence yet to suggest it has reached our counties but we must remain vigilant.
It’s a timely reminder of what people who live in rural areas always knew. Crime is not a ‘city’ thing. It happens in our remotest towns too. Drugs, violence, antisocial behaviour, sexual and domestic abuse are as much a rural problem as a city one.
Initial findings from the National Rural Crime Network, which I sit on with other rural PCCs, suggest a lot of rural crime goes unreported. I’m looking forward to more detailed analysis to help bolster our work in Dyfed Powys.
The good news is that, according to the Daily Mirror, Dyfed Powys is the safest place in England and Wales. I spoke to them yesterday. They wanted to know why.
I put that success down to three things. First, we have strong, stable communities which look after each other. Second, we have fantastic officers who know their communities and they are very good at catching criminals. Third, the public want the police to focus on crime, not statistics. They elected me to ensure that happens. Ever since I have demanded a relentless focus on crime: the police now record more crimes and deal with them better.
The last piece of good news is that NFU Mutual report that the cost of rural crime dropped 15% between 2013 and 2014. That’s only part of the picture but it shows that efforts to cut crime, like tractor thefts for example, worked.
Rural Wales has always been a safe place to live. That does not happen by accident. It takes great officers and strong leadership. We are lucky to have the officers. As for the leadership, well, that’s for the public to judge at elections next May.