Farm Watch bid to cut crime

A NEW farm watch initiative has been launched in a bid to combat crime.

Hartlepool Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Cath Jones has introduced Farm Watch to aid communication across the 300 farms and small holdings surrounding the town. 
 The initiative is a partnership between the farming community and the police to encourage vigilance and communication and to drive down rural crime.

Cleveland Police say there are many benefits to being part of the Farm Watch scheme, including:

● Being signed up to the police’s Ringmaster system which enables officers to communicate local issues to members quickly and efficiently;
● Where there are recurrent problems, police can work together to tackle these by setting up operations;
● Reduction in crime and the fear of crime impacting on the community;
● Information sharing between the police and Farm Watch members in relation to specific incidents;
● Vigilant members who, in partnership with the police, will create a safer environment;

The aims of Farm Watch are to reduce opportunities for crime and vandalism in rural areas, strengthen community spirit so that everyone plays their part in protecting their property, and gives people the chance to report suspicious incidents.

It also aims to improve two-way communication between farmers and the police, introduce early warning systems in farming and rural areas and reduce the fear of crime.

Farmers visited to the force control room and were shown the general command and control facilities and technology available.

Rod Gray, who looks at management research and quality in the control room, explained how he could create information showing the exact location of an incident following concerns about how police would distinguish between farms.

PCSO Jones said: “Everyone who attended was 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.”  

A Ringmaster questionnaire is being circulated to those farms involved in a bid to establish the kind of farming they undertake so that the police have better knowledge of what large equipment is used and stored across the faming community.

Police will also gain intelligence about exotic livestock, such as llamas or other animals, which may be present on a seasonal basis, such as turkeys.