Chief Constable Maps Out Future of Rural Policing at Royal Welsh Show
The Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police has mapped out the future of rural policing as a forum asks “are we doing enough to tackle rural crime?”.
Chief Constable Mark Collins formed part of a panel set up by Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, at the Royal Welsh Show to discuss rural issues.
Talking about the progress being made by the force, Mr Collins explained that there was a long way to go when he returned as Chief Constable in 2016.
He said: “I’m going to be completely honest – if I was asked if we were doing enough 12 months ago, it would have been a ‘no, no, no’.
“I came back into force as the Chief Constable in December 2016, and in early conversations we realised we had lost the confidence of our rural and isolated communities.
“Crimes weren’t being reported, we were getting complaints about a lack of visibility and lack of availability. We weren’t getting the intelligence we needed in terms of following up enquiries because crimes weren’t being reported.”
Mr Collins explained that one of his first priorities was to implement a rural crime strategy, which was launched in November last year.
In the strategy is a commitment to establish four rural crime teams – one in each division – with named contacts for rural and farming communities to raise issues with, report crimes to and inform of any intelligence.
Mr Collins said: “For me, continuity is so important. It’s about having the right people with the right training, who want to do this job. That’s what we are keen to establish.
“We have a wealth of people who come from the farming community and join the force, and we should use their knowledge and backgrounds.
“We will leave them in those roles and give them enhanced training. It isn’t about moving them around – we will be building relationships with the communities, getting them out to markets and events so the communities know who they are.”
The Ceredigion rural crime team was launched in June (2018) and already seeing successes, working in partnership with North Wales Police (NWP).
NWP rural crime team manager Rob Taylor added: “I am extremely optimistic and enthusiastic about our work with Dyfed-Powys Police. The Ceredigion team has only been in place for four weeks, and they are already having an impact.
“Criminals don’t commit crimes in Dyfed-Powys Police and stop at Machynlleth. They carry on across the border. We have people stealing in North Wales and selling in Dyfed-Powys – we need to work together to tackle it.”
Mr Collins added that working in partnership with other forces is how he sees rural policing working in the future.
“We could, in a couple of years, be sitting here talking about an all-Wales approach,” he said.
“We are already working closely with North Wales Police and Gwent Police, and I have set up an all-Wales rural crime forum to discuss the five rural crime priorities.
“I hope to be back here next year to show some good examples and good progress we have made.”