Following funding from the Police & Crime Commissioner, allocated in the 2021/22 budget, Thames Valley Police are launching a new Rural Crime Taskforce later this year.
The police recognise that many people in rural communities can often feel marginalised and vulnerable, and we have seen an increase in serious and organised crime targeting rural areas.
Thames Valley’s area of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire includes large urban centres, but also covers hundreds of square miles of countryside encompassing many small towns, villages and isolated communities.
Whilst Thames Valley Police will continue to meet the challenge of threats and risks associated with larger centres of population, it is important that rural communities also feel supported and protected.
Whilst there are some excellent rural neighbourhood officers, who are highly valued by the rural community, there is room for improvement by developing a team with a critical mass of officers, appropriate knowledge and understanding of rural crime issues to support rural policing.
This new approach will ensure that the Force can be much more proactive in tackling rural crime.
The Rural Crime Taskforce will be introduced later this year and will be a dedicated team of properly trained and equipped rural crime specialists. They will operate as a team and provide a full-time rural capability for Thames Valley Police. This will be in addition and in support of our rural neighbourhood officers, who will continue in their important role of supporting their local, rural communities.
The taskforce will:
- Build trust and confidence with our rural communities.
- Provide dedicated high visibility patrols and reassurance to our rural communities.
- Provide a proactive specialist capability and capacity for tackling rural crime.
- Make Thames Valley a hostile place for serious and organised rural criminality.
- More effectively tackle cross border criminality through working effectively with our neighbouring forces and co-ordinating our response across the force.
- Work in support of our rural neighbourhood teams.
- Develop our rural crime intelligence picture and provide an intelligence led approach.
Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, said:
“The police must respond to the needs of communities, and in rural areas that response needs to be different from in our towns and cities. Developing this rural taskforce is absolutely the right way forward to reassure communities and drive down acquisitive crime.”