Council working with Sussex Police to tackle rural crime

Horsham District Council is working in conjunction with Sussex Police to combat crime in rural areas of the Horsham District.

There are particular areas of concern currently surrounding local farming communities resulting in a spate of barn thefts and several incidents of large-scale illegal industrial fly-tipping on agricultural land.

The Horsham District has a dedicated Rural Crime team who are trained in this specialist area of crime.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Rural Affairs Cllr James Wright met recently with Rural Policing Inspector Oliver Fisher to discuss how the two organisations can work more closely together to address these issues.

The Rural Crime team is keen to increase its policing presence in local rural communities. Its overall aims are to:

  • Encourage better engagement with rural people
  • Give people more confidence to actively report crimes and
  • Have more effective communication with rural communities through the Sussex and Surrey Association of Local Councils.

Police Inspector Fisher said:

As part of my role as Rural Crime Team Inspector, I speak to farmers as often as possible. It was a pleasure to meet Cllr Wright at his farm to discuss a range of subjects. In my experience, farm security is one of the biggest issues farmers face. Due to the relative isolation of many farms and the high value of farm machinery and tools, they can be an attractive proposition for thieves.

I would ask all farmers to consider installing CCTV or trap cameras. There are a range of affordable solutions on the market.

I would also invite farmers to visit the Secure By Design website which hosts police approved security solutions including CCTV. Cameras and prominent signage are not only an important deterrent, but their footage regularly helps Sussex Police catch and convict criminals.

If there are cameras in and around farm premises, security lighting and strong locks and expensive equipment is tucked out of plain sight, then the risks of targeting a farm may outweigh the benefits for a potential criminal. Please help us to help you, by installing strong security measures.

Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for the Environment and Rural Affairs Cllr James Wright commented:

Sussex Police’s Rural Crime team has had a tremendous impact on the rural community since its inception in 2020. Their dedicated team of police officers and PCSO’s are specifically trained to fight rural crime. As a farmer myself, I know first- hand what it is to be the victim of rural crime and the support of the team at Sussex Police has been fantastic.

Farmers in Horsham District who are concerned about security on their farms, are encouraged to subscribe to the weekly Rural Crime Newsletter and ensure they share intelligence with the Rural Crime team at the following sites:

There is also a community messaging app which allows agricultural workers to share camera footage and information about suspicious activities that have occurred on their land, and it also allows users to report crimes. If you are a farmer, land manager, or owner of an agricultural business and are interested in signing up to the app, please contact RuralCrime.Team@sussex.police.uk

Sussex Police would always encourage the reporting of crimes and suspicious activity to be done by calling 101, by reporting it on the Sussex Police app or on the Sussex Police website.

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