Gloucestershire Constabulary, along with its partners and volunteers have began a countywide week of action aimed at combatting rural crime.
Rural crime week began with a launch at Crickley Hill, Cheltenham yesterday (Thursday) where rural crime officers alongside the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust were learning about each other’s organisations and talking about how we could work together for the benefit of the county.
Until the end of October, the Constabulary is hosting a number of events and operations covering everything from poaching, fly tipping and the threats to protected species.
Rural crime week allows the Constabulary and its partners to focus on protecting residents from the rural crimes that affect our county.
The Constabulary is dedicated to providing a compassionate approach as a part of its commitment to the Police and Crime Commissioners Crime Plan. Ensuring the environment, sustainability, human and animal welfare issues are considered at every opportunity.
At the launch was Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, Assistant Chief Constable Rhiannon Kirk and Rural and Wildlife crim Policing Lead Chief Inspector Rich Pegler.
Throughout the week of action, local officers, dedicated rural crime officers and volunteers will be targeting issues which affect rural communities including hare coursing and fly-tipping as well as the theft of fuel, machinery and livestock.
Chief Inspector Richard Pegler said: "The policing of rural and wildlife crime is really important to the constabulary and under pinned by the police and crime plan priority ‘A green and pleasant county’.
"The winter nights are drawing in and we want our communities to be prepared and informed as to how they can spot the signs of rural and wildlife crime taking place and how to report them to us.
"We are at the forefront of national policing in how we tackle this type of crime in having well established dedicated officers with specialist equipment and training who understand the community’s needs. Our specialist Rural Crime Officers are very well supported by their wider neighbourhood policing and special constabulary colleagues who will all be contributing this week.
"We will continue to work in partnership across the county to tackle issues highlighted in the national policing strategies such as machinery and fuel theft and the persecution of badgers and raptors.
"This year I am delighted to launch our week with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust who do a fantastic job of protecting and connecting our wildlife and wild places. Never has there been a more important time for us to have access to open green space for our wellbeing due to the Covid pandemic, but we must understand and appreciate what we have around us and take care of it.
"Rural and wildlife crime is present in our county and we are dedicated to preventing it and minimising the impact that it has."
Martin Surl, Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, said: ““Fighting rural crime remains an important part of my refreshed Police and Crime Plan because I understand how rural communities suffer from being targeted by organised gangs and how difficult it can be for the police to tackle it in widespread areas where resources are less concentrated.
“Rural crime week is an opportunity for our dedicated officers to highlight the benefits of working with those communities, making sure they’re connected and able to share intelligence whenever they see something suspicious.
“The hallmarks of a county force include understanding its communities, its responsibilities and the expectations. The days when every village had a local bobby on patrol may be long gone but tackling crime and preventing it are fundamental.
“Criminals know no borders so it is essential that we work with others to look at the wider picture, including the local residents who can do so much to help prevent and detect”.