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Concerns of rural communities listened to as PCC announces funding for a range of projects that will tackle countryside crime

11 August 2023

The Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, says she’s delighted to have announced a number of successful funding applications that will target rural crime across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Funding totalling nearly £84K is being awarded to ten applications who applied in the first round of the Commissioner’s Emerging Needs Fund.

Successful applications include re-deployable Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to target rural crime hotspots, thermal imaging equipment for Police Dog Units, a recruitment drive for more volunteers to join Mounted Rural Patrol, improved rural lighting for Elvetham Heath Parish Council, replacement ANPR cameras in Beaulieu and security camera equipment for Northwood Parish Council on the Isle of Wight.

PCC Donna Jones said: “I’m really pleased to be supporting a range of services that will help make rural communities safer and complement the existing initiatives and providers who are already tirelessly working to combat crime in the large rural areas that we have here in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

“Efficient policing and crime detection present their own challenges as 85% of the two counties is rural, countryside communities are more frequently becoming victims of serious and organised crime, and rural crime can often go unreported.

“Tackling rural crime will always be a key priority for me as your Police Commissioner, and these successful funding projects will add to the fight to counteract against these countryside criminals who are intent on destroying livelihoods.”

Commissioner's emerging needs fund logoThe PCC has approved thousands of pounds to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary (HIOWC) to tackle rural crime including £25K for re-deployable ANPR cameras to target rural crime hotpots and nearly £12K for new kit, equipment and the recruitment of 17 new Mounted Rural Patrol volunteers.

Inspector Cath MacDonald, leads the HIOWC Country Watch team: “We’re really pleased that this funding bolsters our capabilities so we can continue to deliver on our commitments to rural communities.

“The ANPR cameras will be deployed to hotspot areas identified by intelligence analysis and local officer knowledge, and as the intelligence picture changes we can re-deploy the cameras to new hotspot areas quickly and efficiently.

“Deployment of these cameras is a clear priority for people, as this was something highlighted by our communities as a necessity in our recent Rural Crime Survey.”

“We also couldn’t be happier with the funding being provided for the Mounted Rural Volunteers scheme as they provide an excellent service to the Constabulary, patrolling on horseback in areas that are otherwise difficult to access, and they feed crucial information and intelligence back to officers relating to rural crime and suspicious people or vehicles.”

Rural crime is under the spotlight nationally as new figures released just at the end of last month reveal that organised crime gangs are costing farmers £50M a year. NFU Mutual also states that quad bike and ATV thefts, as well as livestock theft, are soaring as offenders use drones or social media to their advantage.

Communities across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight gave their views in a Rural Crime Survey earlier this year and a new Rural and Wildlife Crime Strategy has also been launched by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary which details the priorities for efficient rural policing. The Rural Crime Guide, which gives detailed advice and support, can also be downloaded at Hampshire Police & Crime Commissioner – Rural Crime Guide.

The Police and Crime Commissioner has also approved the funding of a number of projects that will tackle crime in rural communities.

A weekly youth club in Micheldever village run by Winchester Street Reach has been awarded just over £4.5K to help raise the confidence levels of vulnerable and disengaged young people and steer them away from offending behaviour.

Its CEO is Ben Martin: “This funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner will allow us to run sessions for young people at Micheldever Youth Club throughout the year, providing opportunities and youth worker support to young people and their families in this rural location.

“The focus will be around helping young people to keep safe, grow in confidence, and to make positive choices for their future. We’re thrilled about this funding which means so much to our charity.”

£5K of funding has gone to the not for profit organisation, Family Values, to deliver a programme to parents of teenagers that works to reduce anxiety, depression and conduct disorders in teenagers which can lead to crime and anti-social behaviour.

The Finance Director of Family Values, Bianca Robbins, said: “We’re delighted to receive this grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner which will enable us to deliver our Teen Work programme.

“It’s designed with long-term sustainability in mind, providing parents of teenagers with the skills, knowledge and support they need to help their teens make informed decisions about their future.

“By supporting the parents, we can help teenagers who are struggling with educational or mental health difficulties and, in doing so, we can help guide them on a path towards a bright future and away from anti-social behaviour and crime. We’re looking forward to working together with local partners on this invaluable project.”

The successful applications being funded by the Commissioner’s Emerging Needs Fund are:

  • HIOWC £25K – re-deployable ANPR cameras
  • HIOWC £14,440 – thermal imaging equipment & ANPR purchase for Northern Area dog handlers
  • HIOWC £13K – mobile battery operated ANPR kit
  • HIOWC £11,799 – Mounted Rural Patrol volunteers, kit & equipment
  • Elvetham Heath Parish Council £3,221 – improved rural lighting
  • Beaulieu Parish Council £1,590 – replacement ANPR cameras
  • Northwood Parish Council £1K – security camera equipment
  • Family Values £5K – engagement programme for parents of teenagers
  • Winchester Street Reach £4,509.33 – weekly youth club in Micheldever
  • The Reanella Trust £4,440 – supporting young people on the Isle of Wight