Warwickshire is a largely rural county, with a large number of people living in smaller towns and villages, where farming and the countryside are focal points for the community and represent major parts of the local economy. Rural crime remains a topic that people frequently raise with the Commissioner as he travels around the county and it’s one of the reasons that preventing and reducing crime is one of the main objectives in his Police and Crime Plan.
Warwickshire Rural Watch has been set up to provide people living or working in rural parts of the county with free advice and up-to-date information on incidents in their area so they can take appropriate precautions against crime.
The Rural Watch website also contains downloadable documents which residents can use to record their valuables. If the worst should happen and their valuables are stolen, the documents can be provided to the police to help with their investigations and hopefully return the items to their rightful owner.
Rural Watch is part of the wider scheme funded by the Commissioner to tackle rural crime. With the help of specialist co-ordinators, the Rural Crime Project:
- Supports rural communities providing property marking and crime prevention advice.
- Provides vulnerable and elderly residents in rural communities with advice and crime prevention resources.
- Works with farmers and rural businesses to help them to protect themselves with appropriate crime prevention equipment.
- Runs a fuel theft initiative to actively discourage the theft of diesel and heating oil.
- Works alongside Warwickshire Police’s specialist Wildlife Officers to combat wildlife crime.
- Attends and holds meetings/events to engage with rural communities to listen and support.
- Tackles agricultural vehicle thefts.
- Works with partners on fly tipping.
It’s vital that police and other agencies continue to give rural crime a high priority and I am continuing to work to ensure that is the case. I’m delighted to fund the Warwickshire Rural Crime Project, as I have seen for myself the real difference it is making to help protect our rural communities from crime. The Rural Crime Co-ordinators in particular work tirelessly with local communities and the police to ensure that communities have the best advice and protection advice available. The multi-agency Wildlife Watchers scheme is helping produce valuable information for the police, who also now have specialist Wildlife Crime Officers to help bring offenders to justice.
Through all of these measures I want the message to go out that Warwickshire is not a soft-spot for rural crime. This will help to ensure that we can enjoy all of the benefits our beautiful county affords us.
– Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe
Warwickshire Wildlife Watchers
Wildlife crime is acknowledged as a significantly under reported offence, both in our county and nationally.
The purpose of the Warwickshire Wildlife Watcher scheme is to raise awareness and provide a means for members of the public to report incidents of wildlife crime so that action can be taken and offenders dealt with.
The scheme brings together a wide range of organisations including Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Warwickshire Police, the Angling Trust, Environment Agency, Warwickshire County Council Country Parks, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Tame Valley Wetland Scheme.
People will have the opportunity to become ‘Wildlife Watchers’ to increase their knowledge and understanding of this type of crime, what to look out for and how to report it. As well as promoting the use of 101 to report incidents to the police (or 999 if a crime is in progress), the scheme also provides a wildlife crime reporting page via the Warwickshire Rural Watch website www.warwickshireruralwatch.co.uk, as well as a dedicated Facebook page. Signs, posters and flyers have also been produced with key information about wildlife crime.
The scheme has been funded by the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner who has also supported the training of wildlife officers within Warwickshire Police.
Rural Crime Co-ordinators
Carol Cotterill, Northern Warwickshire rural crime co-ordinator covering North Warwickshire and Rugby Borough.
Tel: 07787 151848
Robert Church, South Warwickshire’s rural crime co-ordinator, covering Stratford District and Warwick District.
Tel: 01789 260 200