Rural crime campaign paying off

Make sure machinery is under lock and key.
Make sure machinery is under lock and key.

There has been a great deal of effort put into reducing levels of rural crime committed in the Borders.

In Berwickshire we have been subject to a number of this type of crimes, with farms being targeted for quad bikes and other machinery and tools.

Recently, efforts that have been made to prevent rural crime was recognised by the Scottish Community Safety Network, where Borders officers were awarded first prize in the Innovative Media Campaign category.

The Rural Crime Prevention project was led by police officers co-located in the Safer Communities team within council headquarters and saw them work with local community officers, Scottish Borders Fire and Rescue Service and National Farmers Union. The project saw the creation and distribution of a rural prevention booklet and then a series of hosted “walk and talk” events where farmers could receive crime prevention and safety advice at a farm.

This was followed by individual farms being visited and supplied with overt signs and DNA-based security marking equipment.

Behind the whole campaign was a range of media that saw coverage of various aspects in local papers, linked into the Radio Borders farming programme and also on the local television news. It was also supported through social media and the SB Alert system.

The project took rural prevention to the heart of the farming community and helped farmers understand often simple techniques to keep their property and livestock safe. After a year of events and activities, the value of rural theft in the Borders fell by 62%.

Police Scotland are continuing this campaign to prevent crimes at farms and will be hosting further events in the future.

Should anyone from the farming community have concerns regarding anything suspicious that they see or hear in their community, they should contact the police on 101, or if it is urgent, telephone 999.

If suspicious vehicles are seen, where possible, take a note of the registration number.

For more advice on protecting your property, the Police Scotland website has up-to-date information: http://www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/home-and-personal-property/rural-crime.