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The 2018 National Rural Crime Survey – make sure you have your say!

Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, is urging people to have their say and take part in a national survey which helps to paint a picture of rural crime nationally and locally.

It has been three years since the last National Rural Crime Survey revealed the huge cost of crime to rural communities – both financial, at £800 million per year, and fear, with chronic under-reporting, anger and frustration at the police and government.

The National Rural Crime Network produced a series of recommendations and, in many areas, the police took steps to improve matters. Essex has been one of the few forces in the country to introduce a dedicated rural team to work with communities to tackle specific rural issues. Essex Police along with partners also launched the Rural Crime Strategy in 2017.

Roger Hirst said: “Now we want to know what’s changed. Do you think rural crime has gone up or down in Essex? Do you feel safer? What’s your view of the police in your community?

“In short, we want to know the true picture of crime and anti-social behaviour in rural communities across Essex – and the impact it has where you live or work.

“Questions in the survey cover a range of issues – from whether you report crimes that you or your business suffer, to the impact crime and anti-social behaviour has on you and your area, and whether you believe enough is done to catch those who carry out the offences.

It’s all about making sure the voice of rural communities is heard by those who can make a difference to where we live and work – from the Police to Government.”

The survey is now available at www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net and is open for submissions until Sunday 10 June.

Mr Hirst added: “We know that rural communities are often isolated and at risk of specific types of crime such as hare coursing, theft, burglary or fly-tipping. In Essex we are fortunate to have active and engaged rural communities who work with us and alongside Essex Police to report and help prevent crime. Together, we have been working to get better visibility of crime in rural communities, to understand what is important to local people and agree how we will tackle this together.”

Chief Inspector Ian Gennery, Essex Police Gypsy, Traveller and Rural Engagement Team, said: “Since the introduction of the Gypsy Traveller and Rural Engagement Team we have seen a significant increase in the number and scope of proactive preventative police operations across Essex. These bring together rural communities, local policing teams and specialist officers to crack down on rural crime. This survey is a great way to get further engagement from the rural community and identify areas for us to focus on in the future.”

The survey is being carried out by the National Rural Crime Network. The organisation brings together Police and Crime Commissioners, police forces and organisations that play a key role in rural communities – like the Country Land and Business Association, the National Farmers Union, Neighbourhood Watch, Crimestoppers, Historic England and the Countryside Alliance.

The results will also feed into the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Rural Affairs National Strategy for 2018-2021 which is due to be launched later this year.

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