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Listening to the concerns of rural communities

Farmers had the chance to meet the Devon and Cornwall Police rural affairs team and Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) staff on the first of a number of joint events planned for this year.

Officers from the Devon and Cornwall Police rural affairs team and the Office
of the Police and Crime Commissioner at Mole Valley Farmers in Cullompton

 

The police officers, engagement staff and a local police community support officer chatted to members of the public and listened to their concerns at the Mole Valley Farmers store in Cullompton, Devon, on Wednesday, February 27.

Attacks on livestock by dogs and thefts from farms were on the agenda as crime prevention advice, information on the Farm Watch scheme and marking kits which help with the recovery of stolen goods were handed out.

The rural affairs surgery was the first of a programme of rural engagement events which are taking place across Devon and Cornwall this year as part of a new partnership between the rural affairs team and the OPCC.

Last year the OPCC team attended more than 90 events, ranging from Women’s Institute meetings to business seminars and diverse community festivals. The programme of engagement informed decisions on police funding, whether to merge the Devon & Cornwall Force with Dorset Police and gauged public opinion on road safety issues, with a survey of more than 5,000 people.

Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez said: “My office gives the public a voice in shaping the police force that is here to serve them. There is nothing like getting out and speaking to people, asking them what they would like to see from the force and, if they have a problem, helping them connect to the relevant service or individual.

“Our team will be at events across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly this year and I would urge anyone with an interest in policing to seek them out.”

The OPCC has purchased a second-hand event vehicle, previously owned by the Guide Dogs charity, to help it reach communities. It will be present at shows and events throughout the year and will be used to provide enhanced staff welfare facilities in place of a gazebo which is unsuitable for wet or windy weather.

The next rural affairs surgery will take place on Saturday, March 23, at Bovey Tracey, with other dates and locations to be announced shortly.

A full programme of events can be found on the OPCC website at www.devonandcornwall-pcc.gov.uk. If you live in a rural community and would like more information on Farm Watch, which operates in a similar way to Neighbourhood Watch, visit www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/farmwatch.