Sunday 14 July 2024
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More rural crime officers for Rushcliffe

Six new officers are set to fight rural crime after receiving specialist off-road training.

The officers based in the Newark and Sherwood and Rushcliffe districts of the county, completed their training over the last week and are now fully qualified to jump behind the wheel to help tackle any issues surrounding rural crime. They join officers from Bassetlaw and Mansfield who area already trained.

The 4×4 off-road vehicles are used in a variety of ways, such as searching for missing people and responding to 999 calls, as well as tracking down trespassers, fuel theft and hare coursing suspects, and will give officers much more accessibility to get to the hard-to-reach places that no normal patrol car could.

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PC Rachel Dowsett and PC Emma Weatherhill completed their training on Thursday 17 February. They are now fully qualified to drive one of the forces off-road 4×4 vehicles and will be out in the community targeting issues that are affecting the rural communities.

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PC Dowsett who is part of the Sherwood beat team, said: “We want to be able to show the public that we are taking seriously the crime that is coming to light and tacking the issues that are of importance to the local farming community, who have been victim to plant theft and other issues.

“This training has helped us know what we can do to get off-road and the capabilities of what’s available to us. It will help with tackling reports such as diesel thefts on the A1, individuals who trespass on rural land to commit criminal offences and finding missing people, so it’s vital not just for the rural crime but will also help us with a variety of other issues.

“We deliver a range of enforcement operations across the county such as targeting hare coursing, off-road bikes, quad bikes – we have a massive issue with those and it is repeatedly reported to the police and it’s about us putting those extra resources in place to help us tackle those problems.

“It gives us the tools to be able to go out and do prevention work with the locals. A lot of the time you will be going out onto farms, so that vehicle will assist you in getting from A to B and gives you the appropriate methods to be able to carry out your duties.

“Certainly, a lot of us in our local beat team in Sherwood go out and speak to our farming communities quite regularly and share updates via neighbourhood alerts. This helps us ensure the local community are aware of crime prevention advice and when incidents occur so they can be vigilant and secure their property.”

The training follows funding made available by Police and Crime Commissioner, Caroline Henry, to bolster policing resources to really help respond to the needs of rural communities and get tough on criminals targeting rural areas.

Alongside training being given to staff, there will also be new police officers, equipment and 10 new single points of contact for rural crime in the force’s control room to improve expertise among call takers and dispatchers.

State-of-the-art equipment is also being invested in, including new drones, off-road motorbikes, more 4×4 vehicles and thermal imaging goggles.

Chief Inspector Heather Sutton, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Having more officers now fully trained to drive our off-road 4×4 vehicles is going to be a really great asset to helping tackle rural crime throughout the communities, adding to the efforts already being made to keep people safe and their items protected.

“Following the launch of our Rural Crime Plan last month, we are now delivering on the pledge made. We are building on resources and equipment we already have to help crack down on the issue and crimes.

“Having officers who know the areas trained to drive these vehicles is great for the force and means they can use the skills and knowledge they already have of the areas and can now access places that a normal patrol car couldn’t.

“We want to encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim of rural crime to report it to us as soon as possible so we can locate those responsible and bring them to justice.

“I feel really positive about the future of policing rural and wildlife matters in Nottinghamshire and hope we can reassure the public that we will be and are doing everything we can to target these types of crimes and will continue to do so.”

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