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The Rural Taskforce

The team whose Operations are tackling rural crimes such as livestock and farm equipment theft, poaching and wildlife persecution.

North Yorkshire’s magnificent countryside is rightly famous.  But  some who live and work in our most rural areas find themselves victims of specifically rural types of crime.  In 2016 North Yorkshire Police decided to try a new way of tackling the problems and launched the Rural Taskforce – the country’s largest dedicated rural team – led by Inspector Jon Grainge and Sergeants Kev Kelly and Stuart Grainger.

The Rural Taskforce has been nominated for this year’s Public Choice Award because of their work on a whole range of issues facing the rural community.  There’s Op Galileo to tackle poaching;  Op Eyeball to deter the growing issue of fly-tipping;  there’s Op Exceed which is helping horse-owners to prevent equine crime;  Op Sidekick which is helping to catch plant and machinery thieves; Operation Owl, the ground-breaking op to prevent the persecution of birds of prey;  and not forgetting the brilliantly named Op Woollen which has involved the team visiting more than 6,500 local farms to advise on crime prevention tactics.

It’s a long and comprehensive list, but the work doesn’t end there.  The Officers and PCSOs who make up the Rural Taskforce have visited dozens of country shows, auction marts, Young Farmers and NFU meetings to meet with the community and listen to their issues.  It’s a high visibility neighbourhood approach – even though the “neighbourhood” is one of the largest patches of country villages and towns in English policing!  This increased visibility is helping to increase the level of  information and intelligence received by the Taskforce’s specialist intell officer, and is starting to give rural residents some confidence that they can report matters to the police and they will take action.

In addition to the regular officers and police staff in the team, the Rural Taskforce also has an extended family of volunteers who go out on Rural Watch static patrols, supported by a PCSO.  This group of “extra eyes and ears” has expanded to nearly 200 volunteers, and now that the Taskforce has developed consistent ways of working and support, it is continuing to grow into new areas of the countryside.

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