Rural Policing

Being such a rural area brings unique challenges for the force. We have to take things into account that other forces may take for granted e.g., distance to travel to incidents as well as the nature of the communities we safeguard. It also means that we have the lowest crime in England and Wales as well as the ability to put communities at the heart of what we do.

We have several schemes in place to provide relevant crime prevention advice e.g., Farmwatch and Horse watch. We also work closely with the Countryside council of Wales and have a dedicated wildlife crime officer.

All of the work that we are doing to improve the way we safeguard our rural communities is brought together in our new Rural Policing Strategy. It has been developed in consultation with the farmers unions, various community groups, charities and other people who have expressed an interest in policing rural areas.

It focuses on four areas - prevention, intelligence, enforcement and reassurance. Each topic has a list of things that will be done and include: - crime prevention packs with information on what people can do to keep themselves and their property safe; better use of watch schemes like farmwatch and neighbourhood watch; better use of social media and sharing more stories with the local media and the community directly; going to where people gather and speaking to them as well as having meetings in the offices of local businesses, groups and farming unions and better use of new mobile police stations.

You can download the strategy here: Dyfed-Powys Rural Crime Strategy 2017

The Aims of Farmwatch

  • Reduce opportunities for crime to occur
  • Strengthen community spirit so that everyone works together to protect their property
  • Improve communication between the farming community and the police
  • Report suspicious incidents as they occur

What is Farmwatch?

Farmwatch is a partnership between the farming community and the police. It encourages vigilance and communication, not only between individual farmers but also with the police.

The nature of the farming business means that you have a great deal
of capital spread over a large expanse of land. This is often
portable, i.e. stock and equipment, and is easy to steal. Whilst your
property cannot be made impenetrable, there are steps you can take to
reduce the risk of crime and measures need not be costly.

How to Set Up a Scheme

Firstly, you need to canvass neighbouring farms to establish their level of interest. Experience has proved that 10 - 15 members is a good number to work with. Ameeting with the members and the police should then be called so that the crime prevention aspects as well as the mechanics of Farmwatch can be discussed.

Much of the Dyfed-Powys Police area is very beautiful, peaceful and idyllic and it covers some very rich and diverse wildlife habitats. However, the area is subject to many pressures not least of which are crimes against wildlife. The responsibility for the enforcement of the laws protecting our wildlife rests with the police service.

What We Do

We have trained wildlife liaison officers throughout our force area and their role is to investigate and assist in the investigation of wildlife and environmental crime. Although enforcement is a major part of the work undertaken, it also involves education through talks to farmers and landowners and public consultation on matters relating to the law. This is a vitally important aspect of work which often leads to potential problems and conflicts being resolved at an early stage.

What You Can Do to Help Us

As with any type of crime we rely on the assistance of the public and agencies to enable us to detect offences and prosecute
offenders. You can help us by being our eyes and ears. Report things that make you suspicious.  Wildlife criminals are often involved in other types of crime. Your call may lead police to uncover all sorts of illegal activity.

If you see someone committing wildlife offences, do not put yourself at risk;contact the policeDo not touch poisoned baits as they can be lethal; mark the spot and leave it to the police to investigate.

If you come across any incident which you believe involves the persecution of wildlife or the habitat in which they live please contact your local police station or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. You do not have to give your name and your call could earn you a cash reward.

Types of Wildlife Crime

Wildlife crime takes many forms, some of which involve extreme cruelty. Dyfed Powys Police Wildlife Liaison Officers are actively
involved in combating illegal activities, including:

  • Game poaching
  • Poisoning trapping and shooting of wildlife
  • Egg collecting
  • Trapping of live birds
  • Trade in endangered species
  • Badger persecution
  • Wild plant theft
  • Habitat destruction and damage

Wildlife crime can be loosely categorised into three main types:

1. The illegal trade in endangered species

The international trade in rare animals and their by-products is a major threat to many species. Many items are sold to tourists as
holiday souvenirs and it is sometimes difficult to tell which wildlife products are illegal to bring home. If in doubt, do not buy! You risk having your goods seized by HM Customs and Excise and could face imprisonment and a heavy fine.

2. Crimes involving native species which are endangered or of conservation concern

All plants growing in the wild, which are normally found in this country, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981,
against being uprooted without permission. Some wild plants are also protected under the Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1994 because they are important in a European context. A guilty verdict for habitat offences can lead to a fine of up to £5,000 or six months in prison.

All British birds, their nests and eggs are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Anyone found guilty of an offence
may be fined up to £1,000. Some rarer species are specially protected and in these cases offenders may be fined up to £5,000.

3. Cruelty to and the persecution of wildlife species

Some legislation protects particular species, e.g. The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and the Deer Act 1991. The Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 protects wild mammals by making it an offence to cause them unnecessary suffering by certain acts. Crimes include badger baitingand other cruelty cases, illegal snaringpoachingpoisoning and hunting. All badgers and their setts are protected in law. Anyone who takes, kills or injures a badger, or who interferes with a badger sett, can be sent to prison for six months or fined up to £5,000.

Working in Partnership

In order to achieve our aim we work closely with other agencies who have an interest in the protection of the environment and we are a
member of PAW Cymru (Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime).

The aim of the PAW Cymru partnership is to create opportunities to work together to combat wildlife crime within Wales. This partnership is actively involved in promoting issues relating to wildlife crime and includes the Welsh Assembly Government, Countryside Council for Wales, DEFRA (the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), the RSPCA, the RSPB, the Environment Agency, HM Customs and Excise, to name but a few.

Here are a selection of crime prevention leaflets that give handy tips and information on steps you can take and things you can do to prevent crime on your land, and around your area. Please download and share the leaflets with family, friends and colleagues.

If you would like any other advice for crime prevention that is specific to rural areas please contact pressoffice@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk

We are grateful to Warwickshire Rural Watch who gave permission for us to use some of their information in our leaflets http://www.warwickshireruralwatch.co.uk/advicesheets.html