New police team headed up by a former Harborough-based officer is being set up to crack down on rural crime throughout Leicestershire

The experienced local officer is being drafted in as the force launches a new “rural policing strategy”

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 1:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 1:16 pm

A new police team headed up by a former Harborough-based officer is being set up to crack down on rural crime throughout Leicestershire.

Sgt Paul Archer, who used to patrol in and around Market Harborough and Lutterworth, is to lead the new dedicated Leicestershire Police unit.

The experienced local officer is being drafted in as the force launches a new “rural policing strategy”.

A new police team headed up by a former Harborough-based officer is being set up to crack down on rural crime throughout Leicestershire.

“The strategy outlines the force’s plans over the next four years to support people who live and work in the countryside by responding to their concerns and tackling crime in rural communities,” said police.

The force’s strategic aims include:

· Three additional officers committed to rural policing to support existing resources

· Training for contact centre staff on issues that affect rural communities so they recognise those straight away

· Enhanced training for all neighbourhood officers on rural beats

· An effective response to all calls for service

· Prevention and the detection of rural crime

· Working with partners to deliver effective partnership responses in our rural communities.

The force currently has 18 specially-trained wildlife crime officers, six rural special constables, Heritage Watch volunteers and beat teams based in rural neighbourhoods across the county.

They will now be supported by a new team.

The new squad will focus purely on agricultural, equine, wildlife and heritage issues as well as provide training and advice to other officers and departments.

The team has been created to increase confidence in rural communities, prevent and detect crime and encourage reporting.

Sgt Archer, who spent all his school holidays on a friend’s dairy farm in Countesthorpe, said: “I did consider a career in farming but my dad was a police officer so I took that route instead.

“However, I have always remained passionate about the countryside.

“I’ve spent quite a lot of my policing career, first as a PC and then as sergeant, patrolling in and around Lutterworth and Market Harborough.

“So when the opportunity came up to become the rural policing sergeant I leapt at it.

“This new team is great news for our rural communities.

“It demonstrates the forces commitment to tackling rural crime and that we have listened to people’s concerns and acted on them.”

He added: “We realise that it is not just about farming but about all the people who live or work in areas outside a city or town.

“Lots of work is already being done every day by our officers and staff to address rural crime.

“But I am delighted that the new dedicated team will bring more resources to this important area and reassure rural people that their issues are important to us.”

Assistant Chief Constable Julia Debenham, the force’s strategic lead for rural crime, said: “We know that some people living and working in the countryside don’t always feel the police are dealing with the issues that matter to them.

“We want to change that.

“Rural policing isn’t just about dealing with farming issues, although that is an important part of it, but it also covers a range of other issues such as domestic abuse and burglary that might impact people living in more isolated areas.

“I hope the publication of this new strategy shows that the force is committed to tackling all the issues that affect people who live and work in the countryside.”

She added: “Our new team will complement and enhance the resources we already have in place to reassure people that we do take their concerns seriously and we are committed to making a difference.”

Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews said: “Rural areas in Leicestershire and Rutland require robust policing.

“Hare-coursing, burglary, dangerous driving, fly-tipping, farm robberies, and church lead thefts blight our villages and farms.

“In my Police and Crime Plan, I have pledged to enhance the existing Rural Policing Plan and provide resources that these officers need to tackle the crimes that affect our countryside.

“We need to enhance the trust between the police and the public, particularly rural communities.”

To find out more about what the team are doing you can follow them on Twitter @LeicsRuralCrime or Facebook at ‘Leicestershire and Rutland Rural Policing Team’.

You can also sign up to neighbourhood link at www.neighbourhoodlink.co.uk to get updates from your beat team.

Please do not report crime through social media but by calling 101 or going to www.leics.police.uk/reportcrime