The Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk since 2012, who was re-elected to the role in this month’s elections, was chosen by members of the organisation to replace outgoing Chair Julia Mulligan who has stood down as the Commissioner in North Yorkshire.
Mr Passmore has been Vice-Chair of the NRCN since its formation in 2014. It works to see greater recognition and understanding of the problems and impact of crime in rural areas so more can be done to keep people safe and make them feel safe too.
“Rural crime is an issue that has never had the attention it deserved on the national agenda. In the past seven years since the NRCN was formed, we have made progress at making sure the voice of the countryside is heard. But there is much, much more to do.
“As a farmer and a businessman, I have seen all too often at first-hand the impact of crime on rural communities. For some it still can seem trivial. Too many within government, within the police and within the country as a whole, question whether crime like the theft of machinery from a farm is a big deal.
“Those of us who live and work in rural areas know the impact it has – it can mean crops are ruined because they cannot be harvested, jobs and livelihoods of those employed are under threat and farmers’ families end up living in fear of criminals targeting their property.
“Since 2014, Julia Mulligan has led the NRCN and made our organisation a voice to be listened to when we have put the spotlight on some of the big issues we face – whether it’s the impact of domestic abuse or the growing threat of hare coursing. I want to thank her for everything she has done and wish her good luck in her new roles.
“As Chair, I will continue and strengthen our work to know the true picture of crime in rural communities, understand the impact it has, and use that to ensure the police, government and others find solutions to the challenges that have existed for too long and blighted the lives of too many. I look forward to getting started.”
30 Police and Crime Commissioners from across England and Wales are members of the network alongside a wide range of other bodies with a deep interest in community safety and rural affairs. Together, these members and supporters represent millions of people and as such the Network is uniquely placed to champion the needs of rural communities.
In addition to Mr Passmore’s election, Peter McCall, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria, was chosen as Vice-Chair and elections also took place to the NRCN’s Executive Board.
Crimestoppers, the Countryside Alliance, NFU and Rural Services Network will join the Police and Crime Commissioners from Devon & Cornwall, Essex, Lincolnshire and Sussex on the network’s decision-making body.