UFU attends NI policing board meeting on policing priorities for 2016-2019

Friday, 12 June, 2015

Ulster Farmers’ Union deputy president Barclay Bell and chief executive Wesley Aston have attended an NI Policing Board meeting on the business community’s priorities for the 2016 -2019 policing plan. 

The meeting was an opportunity for the UFU to stress the importance of tackling rural crime and to emphasise the necessity of rolling out examples of good practice across Northern Ireland. “Police officers in some parts of Northern Ireland have received farm specific training to help them better understand the practical workings of a farm and I believe this type of training is something that should be rolled out across the province” said Mr Bell. “We do however accept that farmers and rural dwellers also have a role to play in tackling rural crime especially against the background of reduced resources for the PSNI. Reporting all incidences of theft and any suspicious behaviour to the PSNI; ensuring premises are well lit; and gates and doors are securely locked will all help.”

It is important that there is a strategic overarching framework within the next policing plan but also that there’s flexibility for local initiatives through Police Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs) to address local needs. “One of the main aims of these groups is to identify and prioritise issues of concern to their areas, such as rural crime, and create plans as to how these issues can be tackled at a local level,” said Mr Bell.  

The UFU is satisfied with the firm commitment given previously by the PSNI that policing in rural areas and the confidence of rural dwellers will remain a priority for the re-structured police force. “What’s important is that the service is both visible and easily accessible to both farmers and rural dwellers,” he said. The UFU works closely in partnership with the PSNI on the issue of rural crime and will continue to play an active role along with the NI Policing Board with the main objective being to prevent crime rather than dealing with it after it has happened.