New crime czar targets technology to thwart rural thieves

The new Rural and Wildlife Crime Coordinator for Wales said emerging technology will help farmers tackle crime in the countryside.

Rob Taylor, who set up the North Wales Police Rural Crime Team in 2013, started this new role in June – the first of its kind in the UK.

The post of coordinator was created by the Welsh government, along with the Wales Police Force, to strengthen the response to rural and wildlife crime across the country.

See also: Rural crime: the mental and financial toll of farmers

Mr. Taylor said Farmers Weekly that a number of farms in Wales are testing technology designed to protect farmers and their property from rural thieves, as part of the Future Farms Cymru project.

Vehicle pressure cushions, livestock tracking collars, and smart sensors are all seen as ways to help protect businesses.

This includes six North Wales farms which are control smart sensors, which operate through a low power, long range WAN and can sense when a tractor or quad is moved and the data about those movements is recorded on an app.

Other options include smart sensors floating in diesel tanks, which alert farmers to a sudden drop in the fuel level in the tank.

Technology is needed

Mr Taylor said he was convinced the technology would reduce rural crime in Wales.

“This project will really reduce the number of thefts of quads, tractors and trailers because prevention is another level.

“It’s not just a lock on a gate or a CCTV camera that may or may not work, it’s about using the latest technology, which is not expensive, to really mitigate the damage. problems.

“If the farms have them installed, the criminals will be aware of it and think twice. Technology is needed for rural crime prevention.

A new website is expected to properly launch the Future Farms Cymru project, where farmers can learn more about crime prevention technology and also access mental health and wellness support.

Mr Taylor said he would work with Natural Resources Wales and local councils to tackle fly spills, as well as meet with agricultural unions in Wales to understand their priorities.

Specialized knowledge

“We are much stronger working as a single unit to solve all the problems we have,” Mr. Taylor said.

“This role consists of bringing in experts in the various fields.

“I have a vast knowledge of wildlife crime and rural crime due to my previous role, however, I am very aware that I need to bring in other experts, and I will be free to do so. make. “

The new crime czar will also oversee revamped education programs for children on the impact of rural and wildlife crime, as well as the establishment of tailor-made agricultural police training, where officers will visit farms to learn more about handling livestock and working in rural areas.

Disturbing cattle

Mr. Taylor greeted the tougher legislation to tackle cattle worry in England and Wales.

The former police sergeant helped push the new law through Parliament.

“The way we drafted this new law, talking to a lot of different people, I think we really got there.

“We were very thorough. This will change the endemic problem that we have of dog attacks in the UK. “

Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said Mr Taylor’s experience and expertise would be crucial for the role, which the government funded for an initial 12-month pilot project.

The minister met with the new crime coordinator at the Dyfi Osprey Project, near Machynlleth, Thursday July 1 to discuss plans for the coming year.

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