The Rural Taskforce was announced in February and dedicated officers will work alongside colleagues, partners and volunteers to increase engagement with rural communities, target criminals who offend in our rural areas, and provide bespoke crime prevention advice to those at risk of criminality.
In its first operational activity, Taskforce officers supported other police teams in two days of action as part of the force’s Operation Hawk rural crime clampdown – and within hours, the operation had its first success.
Officers from the new Taskforce joined the force’s Road Crime Team and local policing teams on an operation to target cross-border criminals over the weekend.
- On Friday 8 April at about 8.40pm, police were called to a report of suspicious activity at a shop in Bentham, near the Lancashire border. A short time later, officers attended the Co-operative at Gargrave, in the Yorkshire Dales near Skipton, and arrested three men at the scene. Two were later released without charge, but a third, a 17-year-old teenager from Birmingham, has been charged with theft from the Gargrave store, and released on bail with conditions not to enter North Yorkshire until he appears at court.
- On Saturday 9 April, at about 8.30pm, a man was reported acting suspiciously in rural Spofforth, near Wetherby. Less than ten minutes later, officers stopped and searched the 31-year-old man, and enquiries revealed a warrant had been issued in West Yorkshire for his arrest for breaching a court order.
- A short time later, officers located a vehicle in the Selby area, whose driver had no insurance. The driver was reported for the offence.
- In the early hours of Sunday 10 April, at about 1.20am, a “two-in-one” burglary was reported in Poplar Way, on the outskirts of Harrogate, when a house was entered, car keys stolen, and a Fiat Bravo driven away. Half an hour later, a sharp-eyed member of the public contacted the police to report suspicious activity nearby. Officers responded immediately, and at about 3am, a 14-year-old local boy was arrested on suspicion of burglary, theft, possession of cannabis and breach of bail conditions. The stolen Fiat was recovered, and is being forensically examined.
Over the weekend, officers also offered crime prevention advice and conducted security checks at rural farm properties.
Inspector Jon Grainge, of the Rural Taskforce, said:
This weekend’s operation saw the Taskforce start as we mean to go on – keeping our rural areas safe by working with communities and pursuing criminals.
However, these excellent results are just the beginning, and we will continue to be involved with Operation Hawk days of action, as well as conducting regular operations using Taskforce resources, working with volunteer Watch scheme members and neighbouring forces.
Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, of North Yorkshire Police, said:
Our Rural Taskforce, the largest of its kind in the country, will make a real difference to people living in our rural communities. The weekend’s arrests are testament to our commitment to tackling crime wherever it occurs in North Yorkshire.
Cross-border criminals who prey on our county should be under no illusion – North Yorkshire Police has the specialist resources in place to ensure they are caught swiftly and dealt with robustly.
North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce includes an Inspector, a Sergeant, seven Police Constables, seven Police Community Support Officers and co-ordinator and intelligence posts.
Members of the Taskforce will be at community events throughout the year, including markets, auctions and shows, and people are urged to get in touch with suggestions for events that officers could attend to help further develop our links with the rural community.
You can also follow the work of the Rural Taskforce on Twitter, at @NYPRuralTF and read the team’s first newsletter at www.northyorkshire.police.uk/nypruraltf