The ‘Farm Watch’ scheme currently running across the Banbridge area has shown a dramatic decrease in agri-crime in the last eight years.
The scheme, which is organised through the PSNI and the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership, now has almost 200 farms on board.
Statistics show that agri-crime in 2017/2018 was 52.5% lower than 2010/2011 – this is a decrease from 937 offences to 445.
The figures also show a 23.5% decrease this year when compared with 2016/2017.
Agri-crime includes burglaries, robberies and theft offences relating to agricultural-based activity such as the theft of livestock and machinery.
“Farm Watch has proved to be a fantastic scheme and when you see these statistics it drives home just how important it is for our rural communities to come together and help each other,” Patricia Gibson, PCSP Manager, said.
She added: “This reduction in crime is thanks to those who take part in Farm Watch, who look out for each other and work with both the PSNI and the PCSP to help create a safer environment.
“We would like to thank everyone who is already on board and encourage others to sign up and become part of this scheme.”
PSNI Inspector Leslie Badger added: “While we take the position that one crime against the rural community is one too many, it is encouraging to note that, according to the latest quarterly update, there has been a reduction in agri crime.
“Statistics only tell part of the story, they do not account for the severe impact theft can have on a farming business, family and community.
“There is no acceptable level of crime in the rural community or indeed elsewhere. And for PSNI, one victim is one too many. We are not complacent, we continue to seek ways in which to disrupt and detect criminals who target rural communities.
“We understand thefts such as these can have a detrimental effect on a farming business, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the public for their help. We want to continue to work with you to prevent thefts, and offer free advice from your local crime prevention officer. Ring 101 for more information.”
For more information on Farm Watch please contact Noelle Garvey, PCSP Project Coordinator on 028 3831 2491.