PCC welcomes new rural PCSOs
PCC Katy Bourne is determined that rural communities should not feel abandoned when they try to report crime. This is why, among the 100 extra Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) promised in this year’s precept rise, a small team have been allocated to specifically target rural crime. A year on from the launch of the Rural Crime Strategy, on Monday they began their training.
The trainees, who are already experienced PCSOs, are set to join districts across Sussex where they will work as a dedicated team, led by Rural Crime Sergeant Tom Carter.
Rural Crime PSCOs Erica Baxter, Olivia Clinton and Julie Pearce Martin were joined on their first day of training at Blackcap Farm in Lewes by Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner, Sergeant Tom Carter and National Farming Union (NFU) rep, Romy Jackson.
Mrs Bourne comments: “Tackling crime and building public confidence in rural areas across Sussex has always been one of my top priorities. From regular meetings with senior officers and the NFU I’m aware of how isolated farmers can feel, especially in a large county where available police resources may be some distance away.
“This is why I am delighted to now launch this team of dedicated, rurally trained PCSOs who will work not only to tackle crime but also to raise the profile of how farming communities are affected. Our local farmers and rural residents will soon have a PCSO in their area with the specific training needed to understand their concerns and the skills to address them properly.”
Sussex Police Strategic Lead for Local Policing, Assistant Chief Constable Julia Chapman says: “We recognise the unique vulnerabilities of both those living and those running businesses in rural areas. The rural crime PCSOs will focus on the key areas of agricultural, wildlife, heritage and environmental crime, building on the work of our Wildlife and Rural Officers and our Countrywatch scheme.
“The six newly dedicated officers all have a passion to tackle rural crime and experience of rural communities and will benefit from 12 month formal training to ensure expertise in these specific crimes. Two are already in role, while others will shortly move into their new roles.”
As well as tackling issues like machinery theft, livestock worrying, fly tipping and poaching, these officers will be trained in crime prevention around property marking and also developing maps and plans for vulnerable properties and farms.
PCSO Olivia Clinton is looking forward to joining the local Lewes, Wealden and Eastbourne district as a Rural Crime PCSO in the next few weeks after nine months experience in Brighton and Hove.
She says: “I’m really excited about this new role. I grew up in a rural community near Brighton so I understand the impact that crime can have on rural dwellers and businesses, and that they sometimes feel they are overlooked.”
“I’m looking forward to be being able to engage with residents, farm owners and business owners and, along with partners, try to help solve their issues and make a real difference.”