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CLA demands police and crime commissioners take on rural concerns

PUBLISHED: 11:36 05 April 2016 | UPDATED: 11:36 05 April 2016

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Landowners and rural business organisations in call for new Kent PCC to tackle mounting concerns

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, says candidates standing in next month’s police and crime commissioner elections must treat rural crime as a high priority.

The elections take place in May, with the deadline for candidates later this week.

Robin Edwards, CLA south east regional director, says reducing crime and the fear of crime is central to improving quality of life for people living in the countryside:

He said: “It is vital that all incoming police and crime commissioners work with rural communities to combat crime in our countryside and protect rural businesses.

“We are contacting all those standing for election to make sure they are fully briefed on the scale and impact of rural crime and highlighting where action is most needed.

“Last year, the cost of crime in rural areas across England and Wales was estimated to be £800 million according to a survey by the National Rural Crime Network and in rural areas, 20 per cent more people are very or fairly worried about becoming a victim of crime, compared to the national average.”

According to the CLA, PCCs must prioritise five decisive factors, if they are to fight rural crime effectively: tackling theft, stamping out wildlife and heritage crimes, combat fly-tipping, boost police presence and endorse fair funding for rural areas.

Robin Edwards adds: “More than one in four crimes in rural areas goes unreported. This cannot continue. Equally, it cannot be right that people are left at a higher risk of crime simply because of where they live.

“PCCs have the power to make a difference, whether through cracking down on fly tipping, taking ownership of Rural Watch style schemes or encouraging greater engagement with local communities. These elections are an important opportunity to ensure all candidates not only understand the cost and impact of rural crime but are also committed to taking a stand and reducing it in their area.”

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