A NATIONAL survey into rural crime “paints a clear picture” of where more work needs to be done in North Yorkshire, police chiefs have said.
Fly-tipping and speeding were the two most common problems in the region’s most rural county, according to the second National Rural Crime Survey, published this week.
Nearly half of people surveyed said they had seen evidence of fly-tipping in the last year, while a third of people had witnessed speeding motorists.
However, police chiefs in North Yorkshire say the survey demonstrates that its Rural Taskforce – set up in response to the first survey in 2015 – is making a difference.
Thirty-eight per cent of people in North Yorkshire thought the police were doing a good job, higher than the national average of 27 per cent.
Temporary Chief Constable Lisa Winward, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “The results of the previous national rural crime survey had a very significant impact here in North Yorkshire, leading to the launch of our Rural Policing Strategy to deal with the issue head-on.
“As part of this strategy, we have one of the largest rural taskforces in the country, showing how determined we are to meet the needs of our rural communities – and we are now at the forefront of best practice when it comes to rural policing.
“It is therefore pleasing that we are bucking the national trend, with more people in North Yorkshire agreeing the police do a good job in rural areas than the national average.
“However, the findings of the survey paint a clear picture of the challenges that remain, so we are not complacent.”
The survey was commissioned by the National Rural Crime Network, which is led by North Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan.
She called on police forces and the Government to act on the “worrying” national picture and said she would be studying the responses for her own force area very carefully “to ensure that the results are taken seriously”.
She said: “The results of the National Rural Crime Survey are stark and worrying with nationwide trends we cannot ignore, but I am encouraged that there are positive signs here in North Yorkshire.
“Here, I am confident we are taking the concerns of rural residents seriously and I know that the North Yorkshire Rural Taskforce, formed after the last
Rural Crime Survey in 2015, is making a real difference on the ground.”
The results of the National Rural Crime Survey confirm the “hard realities” experienced by people living in the countryside, an association for rural landowners has said.
CLA North, which represents thousands of farmers, landowners and rural businesses across the North of England, said it had long called for tougher action.
Regional adviser Libby Bateman said the survey “highlights inadequate resourcing of our already stretched police forces”, adding: “We are especially pleased that fly-tipping has been highlighted in this report as around two thirds of our members suffer regularly at the hands of fly-tippers. Local authorities, the police and the Environment Agency must work together with farmers and landowners to help reduce fly-tipping on private rural land.
“It’s a vicious cycle of costly clean-ups by the victims who bear the burden of waste crime and the threat of prosecution.”
Meanwhile, North Yorkshire Police today opened an extension to its force control room at Fulford Road police station in York to handle both 999 and 101 calls. The building, funded through a £3m investment announced by the police and crime commissioner, was built in just 10 weeks.
Mrs Mulligan said the public had “been clear that the service hasn’t been good enough to date” and the force had said the investment would help. She added: “Having said that, there can be no more excuses – North Yorkshire Police has to now deliver.”