Figures released by rural insurer NFU Mutual have revealed that last year, the cost of rural crime fell by 3.8% in Scotland from £1.6 million to £1.5 million, while it rose by 13.4 % or £4.3 million to £36.4 million in the rest of the UK.
In Scotland, farm vehicle theft has now fallen by 48% in the last three years. This reduction has been attributed to the work of the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (Sparc) which is being held up as a “shining example” of a collective approach to crime prevention.
Police in England and Wales are now examining Sparc’s work to see if lessons can be learned.
Deputy Chief Constable Craig Naylor, National Police Chiefs’ council lead for rural affairs, commented:
“We are looking to examples of best practice that can be adapted to other local areas, such as the results gained by Sparc which includes Police Scotland, Scottish Business Resilience Centre and NFU Mutual.
“The work done by Sparc is leading the way on reducing thefts of agricultural vehicles and the NPCC are keen to learn from this experience and bring the tactics to forces in England and Wales.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“These figures show how a collective and dedicated effort against an aspect of crime can lead to a significant reduction and I commend all involved in the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime on their effective approach.
“Just like with offensive weapons crimes, Scotland’s approach has led to a decline against while the UK-wide trend is sadly on an upward trajectory. I welcome that officers from other parts of the UK are keen to adopt our practices so that farmers elsewhere in the UK can benefit from this too.”