The Rural Crime Partnership (RCP) works with the farming community across Northern Ireland to reduce and prevent rural crime.
RCP members include representatives from the Department of Justice (DoJ), Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), Federation of Small Businesses NI (FSBNI), National Farmers’ Union (NFU), and the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU). The Partnership meets around four times a year and shares best practice to address crime in rural communities.
The RCP encourages farmers to sign up to Farm Watch, delivered by Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PSCP) and the PSNI, offering support to help reduce the risk of rural crime.
Members of the Farm Watch Scheme are offered the following services:
· ‘Farm Watch’ signs advertising that the scheme is active in that area
· Signs for farm machinery, warning that the property is marked
· A unique reference number to mark farm machinery, making it harder for thieves to dispose of stolen goods
· A Machinery Assets Register for recording equipment
· Practical crime prevention advice to help make property and goods as secure as possible
· An email and text alert service on relevant issues
The Farm Watch scheme aims to:
· Reduce crime and the fear of crime in farming and rural communities
· Build upon and strengthen community spirit in rural communities, so that everyone works together to protect property
· Improve communication between the farming community and the PSNI
· Encourage people to report incidents as they occur. Suspicious activity should be reported to the PSNI on 101. In the event of an emergency phone 999.
Anthony Harbinson, Director, Safer Communities, Department of Justice said: “The Farm Watch scheme provides a vehicle for Policing and Community Safety Partnerships and PSNI to increase engagement with rural communities, and to work in partnership at a local level to prevent and deter crime and help keep communities safe.”
Police Superintendent Brian Kee, PSNI Service Lead for Rural and Wildlife Crime, said: “Tackling crime against the rural community is a priority for police It is really encouraging to see such a joined up approach to rural crime. Rural crime can have a huge impact on local people and businesses, this partnership will build on the existing work in the community. Together with partners and the public we can reduce and prevent this sort of criminality.”
If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Farm Watch scheme in your council area, contact your local Police and Community Safety Partnership - https://www.pcsps.org/locate-your-pcsp.
You can find out more about Farm Watch by visiting the Rural Crime Partnership stand at the Balmoral Show.