North Wales Police Rural Crime Team celebrate 10-year anniversary at Eisteddfod
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A celebration to recognise the contributions and achievements of our Rural Crime Team took place at the National Eisteddfod yesterday.
It came as the team is due to celebrate its 10th anniversary next month.
Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman, current Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Andy Dunbobbin, former North Wales Police PCC’s, Arfon Jones and Winston Roddick and FUW and NFU Cymru representatives attended the event, along with members of the current team to mark the occasion.
Officers were presented with a 10th birthday cake, before spending the day meeting and engaging with visitors on the North Wales Police stand at the largest annual festival in Wales.
North Wales Police Chief Constable, Amanda Blakeman said: “This year marks 10 years since the Rural Crime Team was established in North Wales, and I’m really pleased to have been here today to celebrate and recognise their incredible contributions and achievements to rural communities.
“Over the past decade, the team has developed a specialist knowledge of rural communities and the nature of crimes that take place to ensure less urban areas have the best police service possible.
“It has brought our force and rural communities closer than ever before, and through it, North Wales has gained a national reputation for delivering an excellent service.
“I am also really impressed the latest ongoing work with the We Don’t Buy Crime initiative. I have seen the team working closely with local farmers who are being offered the latest crime prevention advice and methods, including Smartwater security kits, which are used to forensically mark equipment and property to prevent theft.
“Visibility and close engagement is key to making those in rural areas feel reassured and that we are listening to their needs.”
The North Wales Rural Crime Team was the first of its kind to be established in the UK on September 3rd, 2013.
Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales at the time, Winston Roddick, had made a promise to form a dedicated team, which over the past decade has strengthened trust and confidence with the farming community as a result of an increased specialist knowledge in the area.
Having grown from one sergeant and four constables to a team of 10, they have expanded from tackling in the main, farm and wildlife crime, to incidents of heritage crime, cockling, habitat destruction, poaching and illegal waste tipping.
Over the years, the team has also led the way in making sure that rural crime is less attractive for criminals.
Sergeant Peter Evans said: “When I first took over the team late last year, I quickly discovered the passion and pride within the team in dealing with rural crime, and I could see how officers genuinely want to make a difference.
“We have had great success in dealing with rural and wildlife issues, and this has been made possible through our partnership working with the farming unions, Natural Resource Wales, and organisations like the RSPCA and RSPB.
“Over the years, we also work closely with Tir Dewi and the DPJ foundation who are a great source of support for the farming community with many issues including mental health.
“Today, we have a lot of excellent work ongoing to protect rural communities, deter theft, identify criminals and keep crime numbers as low as possible.
“We have also recently received our own dedicated rural crime engagement van, that will be used to visit livestock markets, events, and rural communities to be able to meet people in their own communities and help ensure policing is brought closer to home.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin added: “It’s a pleasure to mark ten years of North Wales Police’s Rural Crime Team, which was the first of its kind in the UK.
“The unit was formed during the time of the first Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick and further supported by my predecessor Arfon Jones. We all recognise the crucial role the team plays in fighting crime in rural and agricultural communities.
“This crime can often have particular features that mean a specialist unit is needed. It also helps recognise the unique culture and heritage that forms such a feature of the towns, villages and communities of North Wales.
“Congratulations to the officers and team for reaching this ten-year milestone.”