Dyfed-Powys Police has demonstrated its commitment to keeping its remote communities safe with the launch of a rural crime strategy.

The aim of the strategy is to protect rural communities through crime prevention, intelligence gathering, enforcement and reassurance, as well as addressing issues around hidden harm and vulnerability.

The force has vowed to develop the specialist rural skills and knowledge of police officers, staff and Special Constables, to maintain a visible presence and provide an effective response to crimes and incidents in rural and farming communities.

In 2016/17, Dyfed-Powys Police recorded around 500 crimes that had been committed on farms. These offences included burglaries targeting agricultural buildings and fields, with livestock, quad bikes, trailers, machinery, gates, tools and scrap metal stolen, as well as criminal damage caused to crops, land, buildings, fences, machinery and other property.

Although the figure equates to less than 1.4 crimes per day across the force area, it is believed that farm-related crime is under-reported because of a perceived poor response and outcome. This leads to anger, frustration and worry, resulting in low expectation and fear of crime increasing.

The development and implementation of the rural crime strategy is aimed at breaking this cycle through enhanced engagement and communication with communities.

It also takes into account non-farming specific crimes such as domestic violence, child sexual exploitation and modern day slavery that could go unnoticed in remote locations, as well as business and food crime, wildlife crime and road safety.

Superintendent Robyn Mason, the force lead for rural crime, said: “Dyfed-Powys Police’s vision is to safeguard communities and keep the vulnerable safe, and we must understand the needs of the communities we serve across four counties covering two thirds of Wales.

“The force area is incredibly diverse in its make up, and it would be impossible to target crime in all areas in the same way. Isolated communities and remote locations can be made vulnerable by their very nature, and a responsibility is placed on policing to respond to these challenges.

“We also understand that the impact of crime can be higher in rural areas, where the livelihoods of farmers and small holders, as well as economic opportunities presented by tourism, can be seriously affected.

“With this in mind, we have written a rural crime strategy specifically tailored to our remote communities, who we want to ensure can feel safe and be safe.”