Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster has announced the roll-out of new and innovative resources to help officers better protect rural communities.
Building on her commitment to crackdown on rural crime in her Police and Crime Plan, Commissioner Angelique Foster has supported investment in new officers, training and technology to improve the force’s effectiveness at tackling rural crime and increase public confidence in Derbyshire’s rural communities.
The improvements put Derbyshire at the forefront of innovation nationally and coincide with a series of operational successes for the Rural Crime Team.
They include the launch of a new network of 13 rural crime SPOC (Single Point of Contact) officers based in the High Peak, Derbyshire Dales, Amber Valley, North East, Ilkeston and South Derbyshire Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) who will receive specialist training on rural issues including wildlife crime to better serve their communities. The officers will undergo annual professional development to enhance their knowledge and expertise and have new responsibilities for increasing engagement with rural and isolated communities by attending meetings and community events, networking with partners and establishing public support forums.
Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “I made it clear when I was elected that I would bring rural crime into sharp focus. Our rural communities deserve to feel supported and listened to and I have worked hard with the Force to increase confidence and trust in the policing service they receive.
“These latest improvements build on the investment I have made into rural policing since becoming Commissioner. Alongside additional police officers and staff, new vehicles, a well-resourced Rural Crime Team and advanced technology including drones, they will further ensure Derbyshire Constabulary has the capacity and capability to tackle and investigate rural crime effectively and bring offenders to justice.
“I consulted many rural residents during the development of my Police and Crime Plan and continue to listen to their concerns and needs. I know there is much more to do and will be working hard to build on this progress to ensure the force delivers on the public’s expectations.”
Key highlights on work to tackle rural crime include:
- The roll out of a new permanent shift pattern for the Rural Crime Team (RCT) to extend the team’s operating hours and provide greater flexibility in deployment, enhancing coverage later into the evening and night. This follows a trial which started in November 2022 and proved effective in extending the team’s geographic coverage and their focus on crimes that are more prevalent in the hours of darkness.
- Expansion of the force’s RCT with a newly appointed Rural Crime Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) who is leading on a host of crime prevention initiatives including the roll out of track marking equipment to proactively tackle thefts impacting the equine community.
- The appointment of a new Deputy Force Lead for Rural Crime – Inspector Mike Sisman, who is also LPU inspector for South Derbyshire.
- The launch of a rural crime tasking process and monthly rural crime tactical meetings. The new arrangements will help to identify a broad range of issues affecting rural communities across Derbyshire, raise their profile and allow officers to seek the active support of the RCT in addressing them. The tactical meeting also ensures regional and national rural crime trends are under constant review.
- The introduction of an online reporting system for rural and wildlife Crime on the Constabulary’s website.
Over the past six months, the RCT has achieved many notable successes including the recognition and formal commendation of RCT officer PC Buckingham by the National Wildlife Trust for his role as lead investigator in a case that saw the UK’s largest ivory seizure in Derby.
Other operational progress includes the arrest and charge of two suspects for criminal damage valued at more than £12k at the Grade I listed Bolsover Castle and the arrest of a suspect for handling stolen goods and the recovery of more than £3k of horse equipment. Additionally, two separate bat crime investigations have resulted in property developers paying significant reparations to local bat conservation groups and taking remedial action to rectify damage to bat roosts.
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