Representatives of the NFU and the CLA met with Sussex Police Chief Constable Jo Shiner and the rural policing team, at Applesham Farm, Coombes, Lancing, courtesy of farmer Hugh Passmore.
Discussions on legislative changes to combat dog attacks on livestock and tackle the scourge of hare coursing were upbeat. But the two organisations raised serious concerns about organised crime, notably the theft of high tech, high value GPS kits that are shipped abroad by criminal networks and sold in Europe.
NFU South East Regional Director William White said: “The theft of expensive GPS systems by organised criminals is sadly fast becoming a regular occurrence. We’re sharing with our farmer and grower members tips to help them avoid being targeted by criminals, as this type of crime is highly disruptive to farming operations, given the delays in replacing stolen kit.
“Sussex Police has recognised the impacts of these GPS thefts. We also helped them to better understand the frustration farmers feel at fly-tipping and illegal access.”
Tim Bamford, CLA South East Regional Director said: “It was a positive meeting which highlighted the very real impact crime has on rural businesses and communities across Sussex. It was good to hear that the Chief Constable classes rural crime as a specialism in itself, and we hope the new PCs make a difference.
“The CLA is committed to working with our partners to help tackle rural crime, and we urge farmers, businesses and the wider public to report all incidents so that police can build up a more complete picture and then allocate appropriate resources.”
The meeting included a discussion on the performance of the rural policing team and successful prosecutions over the past year. It concluded with talks on the fairer resourcing and funding of rural policing.