Suffolk: PCC Tim Passmore considers rural crime time proposal

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner - Credit: Archant

SUFFOLK’S new Police and Crime Commissioner has said forming a dedicated team to tackle rural crime is one of his top priorities.

Tim Passmore, who was elected the PCC for the county last November, is preparing his first Police and Crime Plan.

After feedback from the public on the draft version, Mr Passmore is to make a number of amendments, including a commitment to consider establishing a dedicated rural crime team that will focus on offences such as thefts from farms and rustling.

The former Mid Suffolk District Council leader, who has been a farmer in north Suffolk for many years, said it would be one of the first things he discusses with Chief Constable Douglas Paxton, who will begin his role on Monday.

Money is tight at Suffolk Constabulary, but Mr Passmore said it was important to tackle crime in rural parts of the county and protect homes and businesses.

He said: “I have got to discuss it with the new chief constable. It would focus on things like livestock rustling – be it sheep or pigs – as well as metal and oil thefts, not only from farms but from construction sites too.

“It might be we are able to invest a bit of money in automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology and more patrol cars.”

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He added: “We’ll look at wildlife crime too – not only the issue of stealing bird eggs but the rather unpleasant business of hare coursing.”

Mr Passmore said the challenge would not only be to establish the team but to supply officers with the right equipment, including suitable four-wheel drive vehicles and possibly police horses and extra dog units.

The Police and Crime Plan is a blueprint for policing in the county and focuses heavily on community safety work and tackling the causes of crime.

Mr Passmore said that he wanted to recruit more special constables to bolster the proposed rural crime team and make use of local knowledge and communication skills.

He also wants more Neighbour-hood Watch, Farm Watch and Marine Watch schemes to be set-up to be the “eyes and ears” of the police in more isolated areas.

He said: “These specials would understand the rural economy and the rural way of life.

“There are also a lot of holiday homes that are rented out and are important for business in Suffolk and providing them with security and keeping them safe is important.

“Through Neighbourhood Watch, Farm Watch and Marine Watch schemes we can reach out across the whole of Suffolk. There are 420 villages in Suffolk and they are they are all communities in their own way.”

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