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Not enough done to tackle crime in rural areas - Chief Constable

Created on 25/07/2018 @ 09:56
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Not enough has been done to deal with rural crime in the area, the Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys Police has admitted.

He said farmers and rural communities had stopped reporting crimes in some cases as they felt not enough was being done.

Now a dedicated rural crime strategy is to be implemented with a rural crime team set up in the north Powys area.

Chief Constable Mark Collins formed part of a panel set up by Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, at the Royal Welsh Show to discuss rural issues.

Talking about the progress being made by the force, Mr Collins explained that there was a long way to go when he returned as Chief Constable in 2016.

He said: "I'm going to be completely honest - if I was asked if we were doing enough 12 months ago, it would have been a 'no, no, no'.

"I came back into force as the Chief Constable in December 2016, and in early conversations we realised we had lost the confidence of our rural and isolated communities.

"Crimes weren't being reported, we were getting complaints about a lack of visibility and lack of availability. We weren't getting the intelligence we needed in terms of following up enquiries because crimes weren't being reported."

Mr Collins explained that one of his first priorities was to implement a rural crime strategy, which was launched in November last year.

In the strategy is a commitment to establish four rural crime teams - one in each division - with named contacts for rural and farming communities to raise issues with, report crimes to and inform of any intelligence.

Mr Collins said: "For me, continuity is so important. It's about having the right people with the right training, who want to do this job. That's what we are keen to establish.

"We have a wealth of people who come from the farming community and join the force, and we should use their knowledge and backgrounds.

"We will leave them in those roles and give them enhanced training. It isn't about moving them around - we will be building relationships with the communities, getting them out to markets and events so the communities know who they are."

"Criminals don't commit crimes in Dyfed-Powys Police and stop at Machynlleth. They carry on across the border. We have people stealing in North Wales and selling in Dyfed-Powys - we need to work together to tackle it."

Mr Collins added that working in partnership with other forces is how he sees rural policing working in the future.

"We could, in a couple of years, be sitting here talking about an all-Wales approach," he said.

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