Multi-agency campaign launched to support Uttlesford's farming community

The Reaching Our Rural Communities campaign team

The Reaching Our Rural Communities campaign team - Credit: Uttlesford District Council

More than 200 working farms in Uttlesford were visited as part of an 18-month multi-agency initiative to support rural communities.

The 'Reach Our Rural Communities' campaign was launched last year by the Uttlesford Community Safety Partnership, and included Essex Police, Essex County Fire & Rescue Service, Crimestoppers, the National Farmers' Union, Neighbourhood Watch, Essex Watch and Uttlesford District Council.

The campaign aims to provide reassurance, tackle loneliness and isolation, offer wellbeing advice and support victims of crime.

Almost 1,000 properties were identified as part of the project, including 204 working farms. The partnership offered crime prevention advice, provided free tool and machinery property marking sessions, fitted dozens of new smoke alarms and signed up many more properties to the Farm Watch scheme.

Thirty-seven farmers said they had experienced issues with hare coursing - using dogs to chase and kill hares on sight - in the past 12 months, and the partnership will focus efforts in these areas with targeted patrols and crime prevention initiatives.

David Messan, chair of the Uttlesford CSP, said: “We know farmers and landowners can feel isolated and that their issues around crime are not being heard.

"This campaign was all about opening up a conversation, to better understand the issues and to let people know that we are here to support them.

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“I’m pleased the partnership was able to engage and help those who needed it as part of the campaign. However, the work does not stop there – we will continue to build on relationships with the farming and rural community and work to address the issues that matter to them.”

Everyone who lives, works and travels within rural communities in Essex is being encouraged to give their views on a new county-wide rural crime strategy.

The strategy, which is being developed by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, sets out the approach for tackling crime in rural areas over the next few years.

The survey can be completed at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/essexruralcrimestategy2022-2026