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Biggest ever survey to uncover the true impact of policing and crime in rural areas

Tony Hogg calls on countryside residents to make their voices heard in national crime poll

The largest ever survey into crime and anti-social Behaviour (ASB) in rural areas is being launched to find out how the police can better serve rural communities. The National Rural Crime Network (RCN) survey, backed by Devon and Cornwall PCC Tony Hogg, is calling for people who work or live in rural areas to come forward and give their views on policing in their community and the impact crime and ASB has on them and their neighbours. The survey will ultimately help shape the future of crime prevention and rural policing.
More than 40% of the Devon and Cornwall population lives in rural areas and they are being encouraged to take part in the survey to help build a complete picture of what is a widespread but often misunderstood issue.  You don’t need to have been a victim of crime to have a view on how the police work.  For example, you may be concerned about police visibility and response, or see incidents going unreported. In contrast, you may have a local officer who is fully engaged and extremely proactive.

Against a national backdrop of policing budget reductions and a growing focus on higher crime areas, the new survey will assess how crime and ASB, as well as the threat of potential crime, affects individuals, both financially and emotionally. It will also shed light on the human implications of crime and the fear of crime. It will seek to explore the impact not just on individual victims, but also communities as a whole.

“It is vitally important to assess the full scale of crime in rural areas.” said Tony Hogg.

“In Devon and Cornwall our policing resources are stretched to the limit by urban, rural and coastal demands, and the massive population increase in the holiday season.”
“Any crime that happens in an urban area can, and does, happen in rural areas too, and how policing is delivered affects everyone living and working there.“

“Traditional farm-related incidents such as fuel theft and sheep rustling make up just one part of the problem.  We need to understand all the other issues that affect people in our remoter areas, such as domestic violence and sexual abuse."

The aim is to build a clear picture of the issue to shape future delivery of services locally and nationally. By completing the survey, people can really have their say on how crime affects them and what they expect from local police and their partners involved in community safety.  

The survey, which is taking place with support from the Home Office, will build a body of information to improve national awareness of crime in rural areas as well as provide a clearer picture of attitudes towards crime to help inform government and local policy.
The findings will be important to ensure the human costs such as psychological impacts of crime are taken into account and police funding is spent where it is most needed, rather than simply being channelled to urban conurbations. The ultimate aim is to make rural communities safer.
While the survey will aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the scale and financial cost of crime and anti-social behaviour, it will also measure the emotional impact of crime in rural areas by asking how incidents made victims feel and the longer term effects on confidence and security.
Tony Hogg added: “This survey is an important step towards delivering a better service to communities and making the countryside a safer place to live and work.”
The National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) is supported by 29 Police and Crime Commissioners and police forces across England and Wales. The Network, established in July 2014, includes a wide range of organisations with an interest in community safety and rural affairs such as the National Farmers Union, Historic England, Neighbourhood Watch and Crimestoppers.

The survey will be open until Wednesday 24 June. To complete the survey, visit

For more information on the NRCN visit: