National Rural Crime Network calls on Home Office not to forget rural communities

The Chair of the National Rural Crime Network has urged the Home Office not to forget rural communities when deciding how much money should be given to police forces to fight crime and anti-social behaviour.

Julia Mulligan, who is also North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, spoke with Home Office Minister Nick Hurd at Westminster at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Crime. She reiterated her belief that the key challenges faced by rural police forces are not properly reflected in the way funding decisions are made.

The National Rural Crime Network (NRCN), set up to ensure the voice of rural crime and policing is heard, is currently carrying out its second National Rural Crime Survey to identify what is really happening to residents and businesses who live in the countryside.

Almost 20,000 people have so far completed the survey which aims to provide the evidence that will ensure the voice of rural communities cannot be ignored and is heard by Ministers.

Julia Mulligan, NRCN Chair, said:

“Ministers are in no doubt of my view on this issue. The funding formula for police forces does not recognise the costs of policing rural areas. This needs to change.

“Providing services across large, sparsely populated geographical areas is expensive and, as resources come under even greater pressure, this is becoming even more challenging.

“The recommendations from the last National Rural Crime Survey, carried out in 2015, had fair funding as one of the priorities for change. Yet, three years on and despite our efforts, the challenge for rural police forces remains. I hope the Minister recognises that this situation cannot go on and that rural communities deserve better.”

The National Rural Crime Survey closes on Sunday and can be completed at http://www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net/survey. Its findings, to be released in late July, will be presented to Ministers to provide more evidence of the challenge of policing rural communities, the key issues being faced in the countryside and the NRCN’s recommendations to address them.