The emergence of ungoverned space in the British countryside

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Kreseda Smith


Police and farmers in Britain have differing views on the effectiveness and measures of effectiveness of the policing of rural and farm crime. Farmers are increasingly feeling abandoned by the police while the police are trying to resource rural policing against a backdrop of budget cuts, inadequate strategic guidance and a lack of understanding of the impact of rural and farm crime.

To obtain information on issues about farm crime, interviews were conducted with Police and Crime Commissioners and Crime Prevention Advisors across four rural police forces in England. Interviews and focus groups were also conducted with farmers.

The research found that farmers have low levels of confidence in the police, which resulted from the police providing poor response and feedback on incidents. This in turn results in low levels of reporting of crimes by farmers. The police are dealing with increased demands with much lower budgets and few opportunities for specialist training. Combined with ineffective strategic responses and a lack of understanding of farmers’ situations regarding the impact of farm crime, the police are perceived as ineffective in deterring rural criminals.

This paper explores these policing issues and suggests the need to improve confidence among farming communities to encourage the reporting of farm crime, enabling a better understanding of the extent of farm crime in Britain.

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