Today, I attended an event to help raise awareness of rural crime and ways to prevent it. The event was jointly hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rural Crime, the National Farmers Union and CrimeStoppers and was the formal launch of a new service for farmers, rural businesses and the public could contact to anonymously report rural crimes.
This service will provide a dedicated number, with call handlers specifically trained in rural crime, for farmers, rural businesses and the general public to anonymously report rural crime.
The bill for rural crime is now more than £42.5 million and farmers and their families in some parts of the UK have been victims of arson, vandalism and burglary with many experiencing fear, intimidation and threats of violence. Vehicle theft, hare coursing and fly-tipping are also contributing to widespread anger, frustration and worry within rural communities, according to NFU reports. Read more “Supporting Efforts to stamp out rural crime”
Labour secured an Opposition Day Debate on rural crime this week and this gave me the opportunity to raise the key issues facing North Wales Police and what more the UK Government can do.
I noted the rise in crime in North Wales – especially violent crime – but I also wanted to focus the Government’s attention on livestock worrying. At the end of 2017 there were a spate of attacks on sheep in places like Lixwm and Brynford. But the punishment for not controlling a dog that worries or kills livestock is £1,000. This very rarely, if ever, covers the costs incurred to the farmer and it importantly doesn’t ban someone from owning a dog after the event has happened.
Some may think this crime is on the fringes of what our police need to tackle. I noted in my speech that we need more officers to ensure that they have the resources they need to tackle the worrying rise in violent crime, but this issue is important and requires a small and low cost change to how the law is implemented.
I called on the minister to implement the recording of livestock worrying, to increase the fines and look into the ability to ban the ownership of a dog once the owner has proved that they cannot provide the care needed. The ball is now in the UK Government’s court, but I will continue to press for reform.