The survey will help build a clearer picture of the issues affecting rural communities in Essex, inform the development of the new rural crime strategy 2022 – 2026 and shape police and partner activity to prevent crime, protect the vulnerable and support victims.
Developed in 2017, the current rural crime strategy set out an ambitious plan to tackle crime in rural communities and established a Rural Engagement Team to support this aim. Since then, there has been continued investment in tackling rural crime, with Essex Police now boasting one of the largest Rural Engagement Teams in the country.
Through working with councils and partners across Essex, there has been a significant reduction in the number of rural crimes, unauthorised encampments have gone down by 51%, hare coursing has seen a reduction of 29% and the theft of large machinery, 2%.
However, there is still much more that needs to be done. The survey gives people the opportunity to tell us where police and partners should focus to help make them feel safer.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: "Essex has a large rural community that makes a huge contribution to our county. We already work well with our rural communities and have one of the largest Rural Engagement Teams in the country.
“We want to make an even bigger difference to the safety and security of our rural communities by working together to help them build greater resilience, prioritise the crime that matters to them, support victims and protect the vulnerable. Most importantly, we want to prevent crime by building on the strength of rural communities to get crime down together.
“If you live, work or travel within the rural communities in Essex, I would like to encourage you to share your views through our survey.”
Terry Balding, Chief Inspector 3027 Head of the Rural Engagement Team, said: “Essex County is approx. 75% rural and within this rural setting there are diverse challenges for Essex Police. We have one of the national’s largest and experienced Rural Police teams with specialist Wildlife Officer and four Special Constables attached. I am extremely proud to be head of the team. Within Essex Police we constantly seek to improve, progress and learn. The survey allows us to do this and ensure we give our best for rural Essex. Please take the opportunity to participate in the survey and shape the future rural crime strategy.”
On behalf of the Essex Rural Partnership, Nick Shuttleworth of Rural Community Council of Essex said:
“The last Essex Police Rural Strategy proved highly effective leading directly to the creation of a dedicated Rural Engagement Team. If Essex Police are to build on this in the years ahead it is essential, we understand the needs of people who live and work in our rural communities. This survey will help us to do this.”
The feedback from the survey will help Essex Police and Essex Rural Partnership develop clear objectives to shape the work that they do in 2022 to 2026.
The survey will run throughout the summer. To take part please visit: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/EssexRuralCrimeStategy2022-2026/