New scheme is launched to help prevent rural crime

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A new scheme is being launched in Calderdale in a bid to prevent rural crime.

West Yorkshire Police hopes that the initiative will also help to catch those blighting the countryside with their criminal activities.

Officers from the Upper Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team are currently visiting farms and homes as they establish a new crime-fighting network called Rural Watch.

The scheme works by linking rural members of the community with a text and email alert system.

This allows officers to quickly make members aware of any suspicious activity and also to share intelligence on crime issues.

The scheme has been established by Acting Inspector Aidan Hodgson alongside PCs Kate Picot and Fiona Igo.

It is hoped that it will help police tackling crime in some of the district’s most isolated areas.

Acting Inspector Hodgson, who leads the Upper Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Through Rural Watch we are creating a support network between farmers and the police to help us all keep each other informed of any issues.

“It will also make sure officers are doing all they can to keep on top of crime issues in the more isolated parts of our area.

“This is not being set up because of any recent increase in crime. Large areas of the Upper Valley are sparsely populated and remote. By creating a better communications network with local farmers, this scheme will allow us to more quickly share useful information and also provide an extra level of support and reassurance.”

Police will also be working closely with any farmers who want help to upgrade their security systems and to provide advice on what they can do to help protect their land against rural crime.

Although still in its infancy, more than 60 members have already signed up to the network, said police.

Anyone who is interested in Rural Watch and lives in the Upper Valley area should visit: www.westyorkshire.police.uk/calderdale/upper-valley.