16/05/2013

PSNI Rural Crime Unit Announced

A new 'Rural Crime Unit' is to be formed within the PSNI, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Justice Minister David Ford made the announcement at this year's Balmoral Show, alongside Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie and Martin Malone from agri-insurers NFU Mutual.

He said: "Northern Ireland is mostly rural and the agricultural industry has a significant role to the play in our economy. Unfortunately there are those who target these important businesses, which can have a devastating impact on farmers, their families and their local community. It is not just the financial impact on the business.

"This investment from my Department and NFU Mutual will enable a Rural Crime Unit to be formed within the PSNI, which will include an analyst and an officer, who will focus exclusively on rural crime to provide a coordinated province-wide response to the issue, working with local teams.

"I want to thank the Business Crime Partnership for taking this important piece of work forward. Strong partnership working is key to addressing community safety issues and this new Unit shows how the PSNI, the public and private sectors are all working together to tackle the issues which affect communities across Northern Ireland."

Speaking about the initiative Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie said: "We welcome the establishment of the Rural Crime Unit. This will enable us to dedicate staff within PSNI to analysing trends in rural crime.

"The Police Service has numerous initiatives in place, across Northern Ireland, to help prevent and detect agricultural crime including our Farmwatch scheme. This initiative is important in helping to prevent thefts from the rural community and to build even closer relationships between the PSNI and the farming community.

"The prevention and detection of rural and agricultural crime continues on a daily basis right across Northern Ireland. The rural community needs our support and the introduction of the new Unit will allow us to be more focused and to advise us where resources can be targeted to best effect."

(IT/CD)

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