Rural Crime, by North Wales Police
4th April 2017
North Wales Police Rural Crime Team. Tîm Troseddau Cefn Gwlad. It's not a job it's a passion.
Please note: the views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of SellMyLivestock.
After only 3 years, the North Wales Police Rural Crime Team has gone from strength to strength and is now a pioneer in consultation and expertise for fighting rural crime across the UK.
This has also seen a number of forces throughout the UK setting up similar rural teams, based on the NWP model. The team, managed by Rob Taylor, consists of four full time constables, three PCSOs and the welcome addition last year of four members of the Special Constabulary, who were given specific training to conduct their new exciting roles. There is also support from an analyst who provides detailed statistics and predictive analysis which has been key to some of their successes. One of the teams’ constables is also attached to Natural Resources Wales at Bangor, allowing for a greater contribution of skills and partnership working with other agencies, covering all manner of unusual work such as fisheries and the illegal large scale dumping of waste.
The results of the team have spoken for themselves, with regular successful convictions of rural offenders, and a dramatic 88% reduction in reported wildlife offences in North Wales. Their novel approach to social media has seen their Twitter feed receive worldwide accolades, with officers from Australia visiting North Wales to see their methods and Skype conferences by the team with rural crime officers in New Zealand, to exchange best practice. Their following now exceeds 12,000 users on Twitter with over 1.2 million interactions per month for their regular video updates via live Q&A sessions and public opinion polls.
Rob Taylor said,
“Twitter has been a powerful tool in assisting our fight against rural crime and the interaction and support we receive has been overwhelming from the public from Wales and further afield. We try to take a fresh approach to our tweets and the public like to see our human side”.
The team have also filmed a one off BBC documentary and a 13 part children’s detective series, through the medium of Welsh. This TV series has seen four children join the team and help investigate various offences. It has received a lot of interest and praise for targeting the education of children and parents alike!
“Media is an important part of our work as it helps spread the vital messages. We have already appeared on BBC Countryfile twice and are about to film with them for a 3rd time this week”.
A new initiative has seen the team engaging closely with art students at Bangor Coleg Menai to produce innovative posters, graphics and videos to assist in the daily fight and the raising of awareness of rural crimes. This work has already seen some outstanding material, which will be used nationwide. The upcoming change in season brings a new set of challenges for the team.
Rob Taylor said,
“Rural crime is very seasonal and the spring will see bird offences increase and illegal badger digging offences also on the up, with their added criminality and opportunist thefts. We also concentrate throughout the year on liaising and working closely with our farming communities and tackling the ongoing issues of sheep thefts and attacks by dogs, which are harrowing to all concerned”.
The team is very happy to share their experiences at most of the summer country fairs and shows in North Wales. Come and meet them at their Rural Crime Stall and see the vast array of unusual items seized during investigations.
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