“Stop that Thief”

Theft of agricultural, equine and plant equipment and live stock in open and closed spaces in sparsely populated areas. Low levels of security in many cases (not all) and a mixed/varied Policing response leading to reluctance to report/lack of confidence in reporting, that anything meaningful outcome would be achieved.

Author
Paul Crumpton
Contact by Email: Paul.Crumpton@westmercia.pnn.police.uk
Location
West Mercia, England
Crime Type
Farming, Plant theft
The problem
Theft of agricultural, equine and plant equipment and live stock in open and closed spaces in sparsely populated areas. Low levels of security in many cases (not all) and a mixed/varied Policing response leading to reluctance to report/lack of confidence in reporting, that anything meaningful outcome would be achieved.

Summary

Thefts of farm equipment & livestock, some locations repeatedly. Mixed/varied Policing proactive and reactive response.  Traditional security measures cost prohibitive.

“Stop that Thief” introduced a cost effective security solution. If security equipment is required, its provided at cost and installed at a fixed fee on a try before you buy principle. Supported by the NFU.

Approx 400 installations so far, none being subject of crime at the location the scheme was installed to date.

Identifying the problem

Theft of agricultural, equine and plant equipment and live stock in open and closed spaces in sparsely populated areas. Low levels of security in many cases (not all) and a mixed/varied Policing response leading to reluctance to report/lack of confidence in reporting, that anything meaningful outcome would be achieved.

Consequences

Following the report of a crime and where a subsequent visit to the victim by the police took place, it was clear there was a gap between traditional crime prevention advice and the provision of security equipment by some local, regional or national companies that would provide a cost effective deterrent from further crime.

Legislation changes - Existing

N/A

Legislation changes - New

N/A

Actions

In a part of Herefordshire the support of the local NFU Mutual group secretary was obtained to provide oversight and administration for a small pilot scheme. A local technician was identified, who supported the at cost, fixed installation fee scheme, and who sourced any relevant equipment required. This meant there was no requirement for the Police to involved with the procurement or financial aspects. The initial process – Following a Theft, where an officer attended,  and may consider some crime prevention measures would be appropriate,  the Stop that Thief scheme amongst a range of other options was suggested. Where the victim was interested in exploring the scheme further, they were given the contact details of the technician to contact them directly.

The scheme is 4 years old and has expanded across the whole County and into the neighbouring Counties with approx: 400 installations to date and is 100% successful.

What worked

The ability to offer a scheme that met with a victims cost hopes or expectations has driven it’s success.

The use of effective ‘Stop that Thief’ signage has created a strong message to the thief which we believe continues to grow.

It’s outcomes in terms of the no re-victimisation were beyond initial expectations.

What didn't work

The ability to service demand in a timely manner became more problematic than anticipated as the scheme expanded. We set out to be able to meet victim requirements within days where security equipment was required.

Outcomes

We were able to locate another technician who would operate under the same terms and conditions which alleviated this issue.

The Force supports the scheme and it is included in the Rural Crime strategic plan.

Lessons learnt

Assess anticipated demand for the scheme more accurately.

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