Thames Valley Police’s Rural Crime Taskforce set to nearly double in size

    Thames Valley Police’s Rural Crime Taskforce will be expanded with the recruitment of an additional 10 officers to the team.

    The Rural Crime Taskforce was launched in March 2022, consisting of a dedicated team of officers and intelligence support with the aim of making the Thames Valley a hostile place for those who commit rural crimes.

    The taskforce, currently made up of 10 officers, two sergeants and an inspector, works with partners and communities across the Thames Valley to tackle serious organised rural crime and make rural areas safer.

    Since its launch, the taskforce has seized more than £5 million-worth of property, including vehicles, drugs, plant machinery and tools, as well as completing hundreds of investigations and supporting hundreds of people with crime prevention advice.

    Following the impact of the taskforce, Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber made a commitment in his 2024/2025 policing budget for an uplift in officers to tackle rural crime.

    Matthew Barber said: “I am pleased to see the impact that the taskforce is already having.  It demonstrates the importance of a dedicated, visible and robust policing response in tackling rural crime which I can see is making a real difference to the safety and security of farms, rural industries and our most isolated communities.

     “The vast geography of the Thames Valley and high proportion of rural areas will always be a challenge to delivering visible policing, but this additional investment will support the taskforce in strengthening its response in detecting and stopping criminal activity and organised crime groups operating in our rural communities.”

    Rural Crime Taskforce lead Inspector Stuart Hutchings said: “We have been working extremely hard since the taskforce’s inception over two years ago to make the Thames Valley a hostile environment for rural criminals.

    “The additional officers funded by the PCC will only help us to increase this work and support victims even more effectively.”

    Nathan Boyd, NFU Berks, Bucks and Oxon County Adviser, said the announcement was welcome and the NFU supported any rural crime commitment that would help to protect family farms from criminals.  He said: “Farmers and rural communities alike will be pleased to see further investment in the rural crime taskforce.

    “In the last two years, farmers have seen the benefit of having a dedicated, specialist unit which has made a real difference to communities that often felt forgotten.

    “This investment in the taskforce sends a clear message that tackling rural crime is a priority across the Thames Valley.”

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