Extra officers will help fight rural crime, says Shropshire police chief
A Shropshire police chief has pledged that the county will get extra officers over the next six months to help tackle rising rural crime.
Chief Supt Kevin Purcell said a 'significant number' of extra police officers would be joining the force. He said last month alone 21 new student officers joined the force, while three more had transferred from other forces.
New figures show that rural crime cost the county £1.23 million last year.
Mr Purcell said he was well aware of the impact rural crime was having on communities across the county.
"There is no doubt policing vast rural areas poses challenges, however these challenges are not insurmountable and we work relentlessly to overcome these," he said.
"We know many of the thefts of high value tractors, quad bikes and other farm vehicles are carried out by thieves who are part of a larger criminal network and are thieves who have travelled into the county to commit crime and we regularly carry out operations on our main roads through county to target these people and stop them in their tracks."
Mr Purcell said the forces 'We Don’t Buy Crime' carried out considerable work in rural areas, using covert techniques to identify those responsible for high-value thefts and recover stolen items.
He said the team worked with local parish and town councils encouraging them to become We Don’t Buy Crime areas, protected by SmartWater forensic technology and with signs displayed throughout the area warning criminals the area had taken crime-prevention measures.
Mr Purcell added that the force's safer neighbourhood teams and rural and business crime officers worked closely with communities to help identify and develop longer term solutions and problem solving plans for rural crime.
“We know the visibility of police is a concern for a lot of our rural communities and I’m pleased that over the next six months or so Shropshire will receive a significant number of new and student officers helping increase the number of officers we can put back into our communities and help make a real difference,” he said.