“They’re an invaluable asset “– Top neighbourhood officers and Police and Crime Commissioner praise volunteers as Rural Crime Week of Action comes to a close
15 Oct | 10:23

As the Rural Crime Week of Action comes to a close local neighbourhood officers and Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness, praise local volunteers who proved crucial in the week’s positive action in addition to the work they do year round helping to tackle rural crime.

One of Northumbria Police’s rural Neighbourhood Inspectors, Pam Bridges, said how vital it was that officers continued to work with local volunteers.

She said: She said: “Over the past two years we have built up a strong working relationship with those who live and work in rural Northumberland. Our rural volunteers are gamekeepers, farmers, landowners as well as partner agencies who provide us with superb support through their assistance and intelligence. They are invaluable, helping us on operations and initiatives but also by feeding key messages into communities and helping to raise concerns of residents directly with us. Their contribution is incredibly respected and one we as officers are extremely grateful for.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “I’ve had the opportunity to meet with volunteers this week and it’s been clear to see how valuable they are in supporting our officers, especially those serving such vast rural areas. Working together with our communities like this really strengthens our response to rural crime – we’re all on the same side – wanting to protect communities and target suspects.

“I want to ensure the isolated areas within our region feel safe and supported and I believe building on this type of work will really help achieve this. I am very thankful to all the volunteers who are joining us in our commitment to stopping rural crime in its tracks.”

The Rural Crime Week of Action saw fantastic results from a variety of operations and positive action including vehicle and property seizures, warrants, stop checks, disruption initiatives and community events. All of which enabled officers, partners and volunteers to come together to raise awareness around rural crime and show a strong united stance against those who look to target rural areas.

During the week volunteers from the various operations talked about their role as a volunteer and the amazing contributions they make.

Alan Edwards a gamekeeper and volunteer said: “I greatly value my role as a volunteer, working closely with the police we’ve created something remarkable. The initiative is about delivering support to remote rural communities. The developing cooperation tackles rural crime head on and uses the knowledge of those directly affected.”

Another volunteer, Giles Evans, from the Angling Trust, said: “Becoming a Rural volunteer has enabled me to see how multi-agency working is key to tackling issues within the rural community. It is great to be able to part of this and to feel like I am giving something back to the community. I would ask anyone with a rural background to consider becoming a volunteer to assist the police and partner agencies in these operations.”

Another Neighbourhood Officer who sang the praises of the volunteers was Inspector John Swan, he said: “Each and every volunteer brings something vital to the table. Their experience and knowledge of their community offers great support to police.”

Estate Head Keeper, Matt Skillen, said: “I’ve seen a huge difference in policing in rural communities in the last few months. The interaction between communities and police has been fantastic and involving farmers and keepers from local estates and farms has really helped. I look forward to further partnership work from everyone involved.”

Glen Graham, a National Trust Wildlife Ranger volunteer, said: “I volunteer because I think we are all responsible for keeping our neighbourhoods safe. So to me it is a nice thing I can do for my community and neighbours. The operations also bring me into contact with other rural volunteers who care about where they live, and it is a friendly like-minded group of people. Our local knowledge combined with the police officers professional input means the operations are making our areas increasingly unsafe for criminals.”

Insp Swan added: “I hope they all know how valued and respected they are – they’re considered part of our policing family.”

You can enquire about volunteering by visiting your local police station and asking to speak to one of the Neighbourhood Inspectors.

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