Crime prevention

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Rural Crime Prevention – roll out of TRACKER subsidy

Chairperson of the Moyle Community Safety Partnership Cllr Margaret Anne McKillop urges local farmers to consider taking part in a recently extended rural crime prevention initiative to encourage farmers to fit security devices to their machinery.

Through this package, farmers across Northern Ireland will be able to access a discount when purchasing a TRACKER device to be fitted to a tractor. In the event that the tractor is stolen, the signals emitted by the device can be used to trace and recover it.

This initiative is delivered by the Rural Crime Partnership, which consists of representatives from the Department of Justice, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and NFU Mutual, and has been developed using finding from the PSNI’s Rural Crime Unit.

Announcing Details of the initiative, David Ford said “I am pleased that the Rural Crime Partnership is now able to offer a subsidy to farmers across Northern Ireland. The pilot initiative run in E and F districts protected over 1.7 million worth of farm machinery. This shows how the tangible results of partnership working can benefit our rural communities.

“I recognise that there are on-going concerns about levels of agri-crime amongst the farming community, and these concerns are wider than just the theft of farm machinery. They range from livestock theft to food theft, which can have an adverse impact on the agri-food sector.

“Whilst I welcome the partnership working that is currently being undertaken to address this type of crime, I would encourage farming communities to play their part in protecting their businesses by reporting their suspicions or concerns about fraudulent activity. This can be done by contacting PSNI on 101 or the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111, or in the case of fraud, The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Fraud Hotline on 080 8100 2716.”

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said: “I welcome the fact this initiative is to be rolled out across Northern Ireland. Our rural Communities plan an essential role in the local economy. Thefts of farm machinery not only hamper a farmer’s ability to do their job but can cause significant upset, inconvenience and loss of income. Police understand this and we are eager to disrupt thiose who target farmers and others in the rural community.

“We know that increased vigilance and security are key elements in denying criminals an opportunity of stealing machinery or equipment. Criminals are looking to exploit soft targets and the use of TRACKER and CEASR has been very successful in deterring and detecting them. Adding these devices means that equipment is easily identifiable, and recoverable if stolen. Indeed we have had a number of successes in recent months in recovering tractors that were stolen, but had tracking measures fitted.”

Mr Hamilton also called on the communities to play their part.

He added: “Information from the community is also vital in helping us address rural crime. You know your own area best and if you notice something which does not look right, are aware of machinery moving at odd times or notice unusual attention being paid to livestock in fields, phone police.

“I would also ask anyone who is interested in learning more about protecting their property and their community or about Farm Watch, trailer marking or our text alert system to phone your local crime prevention officer or neighbourhood policing team on 101.”

Farmers can register their interest and reserve the subsidised rate by calling NFU Mutual on 028 9081 8688. The line will be open 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday. until 30 September 2014 (subject to demand).