THE cost of rural crime in Staffordshire has fallen by 27.4%, according to a report published this week by NFU Mutual.
The report, A Challenging Time for the Countryside, shows that the cost of rural crime in Staffordshire was £988,083 in 2019, down from £1,361,344 in 2018.
In contrast, the national picture sees a rise of nearly nine per cent on the previous year to £54.3m – the highest cost recorded in eight years.
Nationally, the sharp rise was driven by thefts of high-value tractors, quad bikes and other farm vehicles. Livestock theft also increased, with organised gangs taking large numbers of sheep.
This year, the COVID-19 lockdown resulted in an initial reduction across the country in overall thefts. Criminals continued to target the countryside, however, and there were spikes in crimes such as livestock rustling.
In May last year, the Staffordshire Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime Commissioner published a ‘Rural Crime Strategy’, in partnership with Staffordshire Police, to help understand and address these issues locally.
Deputy Staffordshire Commissioner Sue Arnold, who looks after the rural crime portfolio on behalf of the Commissioner, said:
‘Staffordshire is generally a safe place to live and work, and rural areas are typically among the safest. The results of this report are encouraging for our region, but there is still work to be done to drive down rural crime even further.
‘As a county, Staffordshire is three-quarters rural, with one in five people living in a rural setting. People in remote areas can feel more vulnerable and isolated, and the impact of crime can be greater on those living in the countryside.
‘I’d like to thank the Staffordshire Police Rural and Wildlife Crime Unit for its positive work in tackling existing and emerging threats across the county, including operations with neighbouring forces and partners and engagement with our rural communities.
‘It is vital police and communities continue to work together in order to prevent and reduce criminal activity, which causes significant harm to people and businesses. I urge people to take steps to protect themselves, such as signing up for Smart Alerts and engaging with the police.’
To read the NFU Mutual report here.