Chief Constable to discuss challenge of rural crime

The Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, Shaun Sawyer, is poised to meet business leaders, councillors and members of the public to discuss the challenge of rural crime.Mr Sawyer will be heading out across rural Devon on Tuesday, July 2 to personally meet those most affected by rural crime, and to understand its impact on people and business in the area.

He said: “Rural crime has a huge impact on communities, not solely the victim.

“If you are a landowner or a farmer who has their equipment stolen or livestock that are stolen or injured, this clearly has an economic impact but also can affect the confidence of that person and their family who live in an isolated area. The small community soon hears of this and in turn, the ripples impact upon that community in a wider sense.

“Whilst there are a number of crimes unique to our rural communities, they are also still affected by other more recognised crime types, such as domestic abuse, sexual offences and online crime. They are also blighted by the issues of today, such as loneliness, isolation, rural poverty and associated mental health challenges.”

“With the support of the PCC, the force is endeavouring to invest in rural crime and rural outreach. There are some key signs of early success but more to be done in partnership with rural communities.”

The Chief Constable will start his rural crime day by meeting officials from the National Farmers’ Union before meeting community members from the Devon Rural Churches Forum.

He will then head to South Molton and to the Mole Valley Farmers shop where he and Rural Crime Prevention Officers will hold a public surgery.

Later in the afternoon Mr Sawyer will be attending a Councillor Advocate meeting in Alverdiscott.

He added: “I am looking forward to heading out and about within the rural community to meet the public, businesses and councillors in person.

“These types of opportunities are always hugely rewarding for me personally. In my experience, our rural towns and villages pride themselves on their community spirit and togetherness, but they can also feel isolated.

“I am hoping that this opportunity will help me to better understand the challenges faced in rural areas across the force, and for me to be able to consider how the police and our partners can better support them.”

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