The National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) has been set-up to help develop a rural crime strategy across England and Wales. The network will help the public, police, community safety practitioners and others to interact, share information, develop policy and best practice, share case studies/ideas and link up with other channels for tackling crime (and anti-social behaviour) in rural areas. The network also has a clear objective to shape national and local government policy by raising the profile of the issue of rural crime and helping to ensure people living in rural areas are offered the support and services they need. The survey is intended to help the NRCN meet this objective.
Partially funded by the Home Office, membership of the network comprises 28 Police and Crime Commissioners, along with other organisations that have a clear interest in the objectives of the network. These include Crimestoppers, English Heritage, the CLA, the NFU and NFU Mutual, the Countryside Alliance, the National Community Safety Network and others.
Objectives of the survey:
What do we want the survey to achieve?
- To develop an evidence base that helps quantify the scale, impact and cost of crime in rural areas. The term ‘cost’ includes the social / emotional (including fear of crime) and financial costs such as the money people and the authorities spend on preventative measures; the cost of agency responses in the event of any crime (which will vary by crime type / vulnerability of the victim) and any financial losses as a result of the crime. It is recognised that the survey alone cannot provide all the evidence required for this analysis and that data from the police and other bodies such as the NFU Mutual will be needed.
- In addition, there is evidence to suggest that rural crime (like other crime) is underreported: the survey will allow us to develop a better understanding of the actual scale of rural crime, allowing the police and other agencies to develop appropriate policy and practice.
- As the debate on English devolution continues, there is a need to ensure rural communities are not ‘sidelined’ due to an increasing focus on city regions, combined authorities and ‘metro mayors’. By shaping specific research highlighting the particular requirements of rural communities, the NRCN will offer this in evidence to support rural areas in the devolution process. In turn, this research will continue to inform policy in the future.