Farm and Countryside Watch
Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
If anyone was wondering why there was a police car in the woods with us in our last entry, let us introduce you to PC Pete, a Wildlife Crime Officer for the Sussex Police. Pete came down to see the coppicing and to tell us about a scheme he set up in the region called Farm and Countryside Watch.
Established to try and bridge the widening gap between country people and the police force and start solving more rural crimes, the scheme is a communication network of local farmers and other people in the countryside, operating via email and text.
Simple but effective. Anyone signed up to the scheme who has, for example, had anything stolen, been offered stolen goods or seen anything suspicious can post a concern via phone or email and, in turn, that will be sent out to everyone else on the network.
Here’s an example taken from their website, where most of the concerns are also posted:
Farm premises in The Haven Road Five Oaks had unsolicited callers during the afternoon of Friday 12th October 2007. 2 males in their 20’s described as travellers were found walking around the farm “looking for things to buy” they arrived in a red Toyota Hilux N338 CAK . If you have any sightings of this vehicle please report them to Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 quoting serial 815 of 12/10/2007.
In the example above, the people might have been well known to the police already and in many similar cases they’ll get a response from a farmer saying “you know that Toyota you asked about, it’s turning into my yard”, or “they were parked up at my place for ages yesterday”.
The scheme has proved to be a valuable service for farmers and other country people in the South East, and Pete would like to see an integrated nationwide scheme put into place. Like all things though, this depends on getting the budget to do it.
Does anyone else know of a similar scheme in their area? How well does it work? Could you see it working in your community? Feel free to write comments below.
For more information about Farm & Countryside Watch, click here, or write to:
Farm & Countryside Watch
The Crime Prevention Office