Police forces are still grappling to tackle the organised crime that is increasingly befalling rural communities, the chairwoman of the National Rural Crime Network said.
Julia Mulligan said countryside crime had risen in line with a growth in general crime nationally and more has to be done by police to crack the rural crimewave.
She said: “I think the police have not perhaps fully grasped the organised nature of the crime: people who know what they are trying to steal. They have a market and a supply chain for the goods they steal.
“They are deliberately setting out to take machinery and quad bikes, and a lot of work needs to be done to understand the impact of that on communities.”
The National Rural Crime Network launches its National Rural Crime Survey today and Ms Mulligan wants a full picture of rural crime to emerge so that she can make the case for more focussed rural policing.
“The nature of crime is changing,” she said. “Police now have to deal with a very large increase in child sexual abuse, domestic abuse as well as counter terrorism, so forces do quite sophisticated analysis that determine how best to allocate resources.
“Unless we know what’s going on in rural communities it is very difficult to make a case for resources in rural communities.”