Focus on rural crime issues at Police and Crime Panel

212 days ago

Members of the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel have pressed home the importance of protecting rural areas from crime.

They were speaking at a recent meeting of the Panel, held at Powys County Hall, attended by Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn.

Chair of the Panel, Cllr Alun Lloyd Jones, said there was a real need to focus on rural areas, including small villages like those where he comes from in Ceredigion that are ‘off the beaten track’.

“There’s a difference in the needs of the countryside,” he said. “We still have rustling, they take sheep and cattle. There’s a very real need for more police presence in the rural areas.”

Mr Llywelyn said this is an area of concern that the police are aware of, and are working hard to address.

“This is the very reason why we’ve created a rural crime strategy. We have developed a rural crime team, and there’s been lots of engagement at marts and markets taken on jointly between us and north wales police,” said the Commissioner.

Cllr Michael Jones, a representative of Pembrokeshire, said communication with people in rural areas was key, but modern methods – such as social media – didn’t always work because of a lack of broadband.

“I do accept that point of view in that we don’t have broadband in every area,” said Mr Llywelyn. “One thing we are looking at as part of our rural strategy, and with our Neighbourhood Policing Teams, is to have key networks and stakeholder lists. NPTs are more engaged with their communities as well as using social media. A direct messaging service via an app is something that we’re looking at over the next few months alongside Twitter, Facebook and the police website.”

Mr Llywelyn said the police are also in discussions with Young Farmers Clubs and the Royal Welsh Show, to look at ways of communicating in the future.

“I’m acutely aware of their valuable input,” he said.

The Panel was discussing an item on the National Rural Crime Survey 2018, which aimed to highlight the particular challenges facing rural areas in relation to crime and anti-social behaviour.

The report identified 10 key findings relating to public perceptions, the fear of crime, under-reporting of crime, and the perceived lack of support and understanding.

The full report, and other matters discussed by the Panel, can be found under the ‘meetings’ tab at www.dppoliceandcrimepanel.wales