Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner has heard how new technology, which received almost £100k investment from his office, is helping Lancashire's dedicated rural officers stop criminals in their tracks.
The commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, helped fund the new kit as part of his commitment to rural policing, which he has reiterated during Rural Crime Week.
He gained an insight into how new drones, paid for by the commissioner utilising Proceeds of Crime, and new specialist infra-red scopes which he also helped to fund, are helping Lancashire Constabulary tackle criminals in rural areas.
These assist with operations including poaching, theft of machinery and vehicles such as quad bikes, and the location of rural criminals.
Mr Grunshaw said: “Protecting our rural communities is as much a priority for me as it is policing our more urban towns and cities.
"We need to ensure that officers are equipped to do the job and that's why I was delighted to help invest in this new equipment. We invested in the drones utilising money which has been removed by criminals and it is right that we have used this to help make the county safer.
"Even in the face of almost a decade of reductions to our budgets by Government which have meant we've needed to make savings of £84m which has led to a reduction of over 750 officers over the last ten years, I have maintained my commitment to rural policing and supported our highly skilled and dedicated rural teams.
"Rural crime can have a huge impact on victims and that is why I continue to support Lancashire Constabulary and the officers who have been trained to help tackle the unique issues faced in more rural areas and build safer rural communities, by working closely with the people who live and work in them."
Lorraine Ellwood, rural, wildlife and heritage crime coordinator for Lancashire Constabulary, said: "We know that for our rural communities, the impact of crime can have more far reaching effects than the value of the items stolen, for example, livelihoods can be significantly affected by the theft of agricultural machinery or livestock."
CLA North Rural Adviser Libby Bateman, who also heard about the use of technology in relation to rural crime, said: “Earlier this year CLA conducted research to discover the type of equipment rural offices had available to them to tackle criminal activity. The report concluded that more funding was needed to ensure rural officers had the latest technology such as thermal imaging cameras and drones to detect criminal activity in the open countryside.”
“It is good to see that Lancashire Police have been proactive on this matter and with support from PCC Clive Grunshaw, have been able to purchase three thermal imaging cameras and set up a drone team which will enable them to get a step ahead of the criminals, collect stronger evidence and secure more convictions.”