Police Officers, Special Constables and PCSOs have been gaining an insight into rural crime and how best to tackle it on special courses funded by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.
Two training days have been held – one at Pailton, near Rugby and another at Moreton Morrell College – with officers from Safer Neighbourhood Teams from across the county attending for a day of practical learning, organised by the PCC-funded Rural Crime Co-ordinators Carol Cotterill, Lucy Lambert and Robert Church.
At Pailton speakers included representatives from the farming community and the National Farmers Union, who discussed how best to work with farmers when dealing with incidents and what the impact of rural crime can be; an input from Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Large Animal Rescue Team on how to safely deal with horses, other large animals and livestock at incidents; as well as an overview of the legislation covering the use of agricultural and plant equipment on the roads.
At Moreton Morrell, officers had demonstrations of crime prevention which can be passed onto the public and a live forensics learning exercise around the farm, giving officers the know-how of what to look for and how and when to bring in scenes of crimes officers.
Both courses featured further inputs from the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service and NFU Mutual, giving practical information on how to spot stolen plant and agricultural machinery, an overview of the Construction & Agricultural Equipment Security and Registration Scheme (CESAR) and a ‘hands on’ session examining tractors, quad bikes, trailers and other equipment that is often targeted by criminals.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “The impact on rural businesses and farms from the theft of livestock and agricultural or plant machinery can be extremely significant, so it is important that officers are trained in what to look out for and where they can go for further advice and support.
“By equipping our Safer Neighbourhood Teams with the right hands-on-experience and knowledge we will continue to get out the message that Warwickshire is not a ‘soft target’ for rural crime.
“We know that significant proportions of the crime in rural areas is carried out by organised crime groups, and it is important that the police work across force borders to identify and arrest criminals. I was therefore really pleased that both courses had representatives attending from our neighbouring police forces, helping to build those close relationships further.”
In addition to learning about rural crime, the attendees of the Moreton Morrell course also had a training session on dementia awareness, enabling them to spot those who are vulnerable and know how to deal with people who may have dementia. All Safer Neighbourhood Teams in Stratford District and the Warwick rural teams have now become official ‘Dementia Friends’ as a result.