Commodity Watch - Rural Crime: Beyond The Statistics

Saturday, 16 August, 2014

Commodity Watch

This week, NFU Mutual released their figures on rural and agri crime across the UK. The statistics have shown a concerning rise in these offences, particularly in regard to theft of machinery, livestock and equipment. The UFU has said that rural crime is now a major issue which must be dealt with head on. The unfortunate reality is that farmers are having valuable livestock and machinery stolen on a regular basis and this is having a devastating impact on their businesses and families. We continue to work closely with the PSNI to help tackle the problem and hope that these figures will serve as a message to all involved that the problem is not going away and that it cannot be swept under the carpet.

However, it is important to remember that statistics are only part of the story. -Policing is ultimately about people. Rural crime did cost the industry a total of £3.9m last year, but it’s important to remember that behind that figure are many  people - men and women just trying to make a living- who go to bed at night with their hopes and plans for the future severely disrupted by these criminals. The costs are not only financial, but can have a significant impact on health, both physical and mental. If you’ve been targeted by thievesyou may never again feel safe. If you have children, you’ll worry about their safety - what if they we are to meet one of these people? This is the reality of the human cost of rural crime. It is vitally important that those who have the responsibility of dealing with this problem recognise the full impact upon the targeted families.

The UFU work closely with Rural Support to provide help to people in rural areas who are in distress. Rural Support Development Director, Jude McCann said “no-one should have to suffer the consequences of rural crime alone. At Rural Support, we are on-hand to provide a listening ear, no matter what difficulties you’re having, including financial and debt pressures, relationship difficulties, stress and other mental health issues. Being the victim of crime can have many distressing consequences, and we recognise that it can have a huge- but often invisible- impact on people. Anything you tell us will be treated as strictly confidential, so you can lift the phone safe in the knowledge that you’re talking to someone who is trained and whom you can trust.”

Rural Support rely on the time contributions of volunteers to continue their work. If you would like to get involved in their work, you get in touch with Clodagh Crowe on 02886760040 or email clodagh@ruralsupport.org.uk.

The Rural Support Helpline number is 08456067607.