Wales should have a taskforce to tackle rural crime to address real issues confronting countryside communities, says CLA Cymru.
Nigel Hollett, Director says,
“Our four Welsh police forces do a great job fighting crime. But rural crime crosses force borders, requiring consistent strategy and coordination. Some rural crime needs specific expertise and resources – and there’s an important job to be done further improving public awareness of real issues confronting countryside communities.”
“Covid 19 hasn’t stopped common rural crime affecting farms: plant, equipment and livestock. There’s been no let-up in wildlife and waste-crime such as fly-tipping. In fact the latter has increased in areas when waste transfer stations have been closed owing to the restrictions. But the pandemic has introduced us to new crimes such as the breach of travel restrictions which puts vulnerable people in rural communities at risk. We must act to protect Welsh beauty-spots – including our rivers and lakes – from the issues we experienced last summer.”
Nigel Hollett continues,
“It’s vital to protect farming communities which have continued to work non-stop to provide us with food – and it’s also vital to protect our environment and the vulnerable wild species that make it their habitat.”
“The CLA called for this before the pandemic, and we’re supportive of a similar call for action from Senedd Member and Shadow Minister for Energy, Environment and Rural Affairs, Janet Finch Saunders MS. The taskforce should comprise farming and rural business representatives and should include relevant authorities. Its role should be to focus Welsh government policy, drive a rural crime-fighting strategy, prioritise issues, and direct resources. Above all, its role should be to support the challenging role of our hard-working police forces.”
“Raising awareness in the general public of hazards they may bring to the countryside is another job the taskforce should undertake. The risks of dog-attack of livestock are also accompanied by the invisible issue of disease they can bring to farm animals.”