Forces work together to launch Ceredigion rural crime team

IT will certainly be a change to life on the beat, but Dyfed-Powys Police’s first ever rural crime team is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

Coming from farming backgrounds with a knowledge of the issues and concerns these communities face, and undergoing enhanced training with North Wales Police’s well-established rural crime team, puts PC Esther Davies and PCSO Caryl Griffiths in good stead for the role.

From this week on, the pair will cover the Ceredigion division, from Crymych to Machynlleth, dealing with issues ranging from sheep worrying and livestock theft, to offering crime prevention advice and support. They will also work closely with partner agencies including the National Farmers’ Union, the Farmer’s Union of Wales and the Welsh Government.

The new role has come as a direct result of the force’s rural crime strategy, which committed to identifying named points of contact for rural crime matters, and developing the specialist rural skills and knowledge of its officers.

The team will benefit from an attachment to North Wales Police for a week of intense training in the first partnership of its kind between the two forces. Rural Crime Team Manager Rob Taylor and his team will pass on the expertise gained in the five years since the team was established, and the forces hope to continue to work together to tackle rural issues and cross border criminality.

Speaking about her new role, PCSO Griffiths said: “This post will be challenging, but extremely rewarding.

“I appreciate the importance of communication with rural and agricultural communities. It is vital to provide a familiar point of contact to the public, and also to seek their views on how we can serve their needs.

“With this in mind, I want to restore confidence in the rural communities so people can feel safe and be safe. I have mentioned the rural crime team to people while I’ve been out in the community and they are very supportive – they think it is definitely needed.”

PC Davies added that their first hand experiences of the farming environment will help them get to grips with the new role.

“Personally, being from a rural background and growing up in that environment means I know how the community works, as well as the issues and concerns the farming community has,” she said.

“It will be interesting to see how North Wales Police do it. Hopefully we will gain a lot of tips and ideas from them, which we can bring down to Dyfed-Powys.

“It’s an exciting opportunity because it is completely new for the force and we can make it our own with guidance. We will have to use our own initiative in establishing the best way for the role to move forward, which will be a good challenge.”

The pair will spend a week attached to North Wales Police, where they will learn how their counterparts work. They will receive classroom training on issues specific to the rural community, as well as getting the chance to shadow a PC and PCSO as they carry out their work.

And when they return to Dyfed-Powys Police, their first aim is to get out and about in the community attending as many events as possible to spread the word about their work.

“PCSO Griffiths said: “We want to be visible as well as proactive, so we will be showing our faces and making sure people know that we are here to support them.”

Robyn Mason, Dyfed-Powys Police’s lead for rural crime, said: “Tackling rural crime is a priority for Dyfed-Powys, and the only way to fully get to grips with these issues is to have officers and staff dedicated to the cause.

“This will be the first of four rural crime teams launched across our divisions, and it is a very exciting opportunity for the force.

“We look forward to seeing the skills and knowledge Esther and Caryl bring back from North Wales Police, and would like to thank Rob Taylor and his team for allowing us to work together in this new partnership.”

North Wales Rural Crime Team manager, Rob Taylor, said: “We have had a dedicated Rural Team in North Wales since September 2013 and although small, this team has been very impactive and has developed close links with our farming and rural communities.

“The attachment of these officers from Ceredigion will be an asset to both forces, which will allow us to share our rural policing knowledge and to tackle cross border criminality in Wales.

“Both officers are from farming backgrounds and they already have a good grounding of rural issues and there policing needs, so we have a lot to learn from them too.”