THE Yorkshire Post has been unstinting in its attempts to shine a light on the impact of rural crime upon its victims – and the limited resources available to police forces which cover the countryside in comparison to their urban counterparts.
As such, today’s warnings by Lord Foster of Bath, who chairs the House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy, come as little surprise but underline the vital importance of tackling these problems.
The Liberal Democrat peer’s committee is currently examining the issue of rural crime ahead of publishing a report in spring next year, but what they have uncovered already is clearly a concern.
Lord Foster has described how rural forces are hamstrung financially, as well as the way in which current sentencing guidelines are not reflecting the devastating financial and emotional effect on people and businesses who are the victims of rural crime when perpetrators are brought before the courts.
But he has also connected the issue to the wider “raw deal” that rural areas in vast parts of Yorkshire and other areas of the country are getting. Under-funded police forces run parallel to bank branch, Post Office and village shop closures, as well as the ongoing loss of local bus services.
Rather than waiting for the final report, his words – which illustrate a situation which is already well-understood, particularly in this region – should be heeded by Government immediately rather than waiting to respond to the official report next year. Each day of delay brings more victims of crime who could have been better protected.