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North Wales Police recently held a series of engagement events with Young Farmers’ Clubs from across North Wales to meet the young people involved, demonstrate what equipment and technology is available to the Force, and to hear any concerns and answer questions from the public. It was also an opportunity to show the commitment of North Wales Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin, to ensuring the safety and security of our rural community across the region.
Young Farmers’ Clubs are an important part of rural life across the country and the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs says that the clubs provide their 22,000 members aged 10 to 28 with a 'unique opportunity to develop skills, work with their local communities, travel abroad, take part in a varied competitions programme and enjoy a dynamic social life'. There are 581 Young Farmers’ Clubs in England and Wales dedicated to supporting young people in agriculture and the countryside.
The engagement events took place across a series of three evening (20th and 27th September and 4th October) at the Joint Communications Centre in St. Asaph, which is the main base for calls to emergency services across North Wales.
Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin, who has made combatting rural crime a core element of his Police and Crime Plan for the region, attended the event on the evening of 27th September, when officers welcomed nearly 40 young people from Young Farmers’ Clubs from Llansannan and Betws yn Rhos. Other evenings saw young people come from as far afield as Llangollen and Cerrigydrudion, with over 100 attending across the three events.
The Young Farmers saw displays and show-and-tell presentations from officers from across the Rural Crime Team, Armed Alliance (North Wales Police’s firearms response team, which operates jointly with the Cheshire Force), the Intercept Team, the Roads Policing Unit and the Drone team. Following this, there was a talk from staff in Justice Services about some of the work that goes on behind the scenes, as well as a presentation and tour of the facilities by the Control Room team, where the staff who answer emergency calls from the public are based.
Issues raised by the Young Farmers with officers included the theft of quad bikes from farms and how to protect farm property, wildlife crime such as those involving birds of prey, and attacks by dogs on livestock. The farmers were also encouraged to join North Wales Police’s Farm Watch scheme, which now covers over 800 farms across North Wales.
Organiser of the engagement events, Inspector Simon Evans, North Wales Police, commented: “At North Wales Police, we recognise how important it is to engage with our rural communities, and especially young people, to ensure they know where to turn if crime occurs. It’s also vital that they know we are here to support and protect both them and their livelihoods. It was a pleasure to work with the local Young Farmers’ Clubs and invite them to see the work we do, and I was pleased with the interest and enthusiasm shown by the young people.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, Andy Dunbobbin, said: “Tackling and preventing rural and wildlife crime is a crucial part of my plan for policing in North Wales and I am determined to listen and act on the concerns of the rural community. I was delighted to see North Wales Police engaging with the farmers of tomorrow and showing just how seriously we take the safety and security of the farms, smallholdings and countryside of North Wales.”