A NEW police initiative to protect farms from crime launches today.
Farm Watch has been set up by Hartlepool Police and will work in partnership with the area’s 300 farms and small holdings.
It aims to improve communication and help the farming community keep on top of crime.
Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Cath Jones, who set up the initiative, said: “Intelligence is a vital tool in crime reduction and members of the public can assist by providing information, no matter how trivial it may seem.
“If a pattern arises as a result of the information received we can then act upon this and address the issue.
“By communicating with each other we can help to prevent many crimes from happening in the first place, thus making the community a safer and more crime free area.”
Members of Farm Watch get access to a Ringmaster phone system that lets police share details on local issues quickly.
Police say the scheme can also help tackle persistent problems by working with members to set up operations.
Members are also encouraged to report any suspicious activity.
Farm Watch members recently visited the force control room where they got to see the system and technology in place to help run the scheme.
Rod Gray, who works in the control room, explained how he could show the exact location of an incident in response to questions from farmers about how the police are able to distinguish one farm from another.
PCSO Jones added: “All those that attended were delighted with the presentation and all the work Cleveland Police was doing to protect their farms.
“It allayed any fears they might have had about the effectiveness of the scheme.
“They are looking forward to working closely with the police and partner agencies in the future.”
Police hope the Neighbourhood Watch-style project will strengthen community spirit so that everyone plays their part in protecting property.
To be part of Farm Watch, email H1farmwatch@cleveland.pnn.police.uk and include your farm name and address, your own name, email and telephone number.