PCC addresses Rural Crime at Annual East Herts Barn Meet
Around 100 rural residents, including local landowners, farmers, local councillors and rural businesses recently attended the annual barn meet in East Hertfordshire (December, 6th).

The Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, Assistant Chief Constable, Bill Jephson, newly appointed Chief Inspector of East Herts, Stuart Orton, police officers from the rural East Herts Rural Safer Neighbourhood Team and representatives from the National Farmers Union (NFU) also attended the meeting.

Now in its 9th year, the meeting was hosted by Scott Findlay at Half Way House Farm, and organised for rural residents and businesses to put forward their concerns and discuss how the police are working to tackle rural crime.

Issues raised included: illegal trespassing and anti-social behaviour, fly tipping, theft of machinery and hare coursing.

Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, assured attendants that rural crime continues to be one of his top priorities and he answered concerns around the number of local police officers in East Herts.

“I am proud of the response from the police officers that I employ through the Chief Constable and the work that they do.

“The important question isn’t around the number of officers we have, but ensuring we are getting the most efficiency from them. Money being spent on frontline officers is going up and in the coming weeks I will be looking for permission to increase the police part of the council tax and put even more resources into frontline officers.

“I am also refreshing my Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan and want to hear the views from the public on the issues that are important in Hertfordshire and what my strategy should continue to prioritise. It is important that you take this opportunity to tell me your concerns as I refresh this Plan.”[i]

Chief Inspector for East Herts, Stuart Orton, highlighted the effective work being done by volunteers in policing in East Herts.

“It is wonderful that we have got volunteers in policing and we are grateful for the work they do. By end of 2019 I will also have dedicated team of rural Special Constables in East Herts to help build capacity and support the resources we have in place.

“In the new year my teams will be working with local communities to establish engagement panels across the district. These panels will help Safer Neighbourhood Teams pick up on changes that are happening and feed that back into the strategic picture – they will be your panels to help guide local policing priorities based upon existing demand in local areas.”

Those who attended the meeting were reminded of ways to contact the Constabulary if they wished to report a crime.

Dial 999 in an emergency, when a crime is in progress or someone suspected of a crime is nearby, for example if you see someone in the act of fly-tipping or anti-social driving, causing damage to crops.

Dial 101 to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response, for example if a vehicle has been stolen or there has been damage to your property.

Incidents can also be reported directly to the Constabulary’s website: www.herts.police.uk.

The National Farmers’ Union recently partnered with Crimestoppers to launch a Rural Crime Reporting Line. You can either call the dedicated Crimestoppers number on 0800 783 0137 or complete the online form to give information anonymously.

[i] Email your views – the.plan@herts.pcc.pnn.gov.uk