August’s talk came from Martin Dickenson of Dyfed Police, and was on the subject of rural crime. Martin comes from a farming family, and has owned his own farm for the last 10 years, but like so many of us has to work in order to be able to afford to farm!
Martin’s primary focus was on increasing our awareness of crime. A lot of rural crime can be prevented by our actions and observation. As we often live in isolated areas, we’re not always particularly security conscious. We’re not always good at making sure that high value items such as chainsaws or strimmers are securely locked away when not in use, or that vehicles and workshops are closed up for the night.
Martin felt that we need to take more of a pre-emptive approach to crime, and one of the ways that we could all do this is by creating a support network, where individuals are assisting the police, which will in turn allow the police to spot local patterns in crime, and spread the word among the community. To do this, Martin is championing a Farm Watch scheme which we can easily sign up to, and will provide a central point to gather data and pass on concerns.
The kind of things we should be passing on to the police are things like uninvited guests coming on to your premises who don’t have a good reason to be there. There’s a chance they’re seeing if there’s anything worth taking. Another might be stock being moved during the hours of darkness. Theft of animals is on the increase, and it’s something we all need to be aware of. A trailer full of sheep being driven off at 2:30 in the morning isn’t something most farmers tend to do. The police want to know about these kind of occurrences that for some reason or another just don’t seem quite right.
So what can you do to prevent being a victim of crime?
- Lock things up! If it’s something somebody might want to steal, lock it away
- Check your oil tank every couple of months. If you’ve filled your tank in May, and you don’t realise your oil’s been stolen until you turn your central heating on in October, there’s no chance the police are going to be able to do anything about it.
- Be alert. if you see something suspicious then report it to your local police by calling 101. This lets them keep an eye on patterns of crime.
- Put locks on your gates.
- Mark your tools with Ultraviolet Pens. It’s much easier to prove it’s yours.
- Keep an eye on your neighbours’ properties. If there’s a suspicious vehicle, then note down the registration number
- Get CCTV, it’s a great deterrent
- Put up a Farm Watch poster
In the countryside, we tend to be a bit more trusting than people living in towns, and that’s part of the attraction of our lifestyle, but let’s make sure we don’t become easy targets!
If you’re interested in joining Farm Watch, or you just want to find our more, please contact Martin Dickenson by email at martin.dickenson@Dyfed-Powys.pnn.police.uk , or alternatively call 101, to speak to your local Police Station