Philip Allott, the Conservative Candidate for the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner election, has promised a major clampdown on rural crimes including theft, criminal damage, poaching and hare coursing, if elected.
Rural crimes such as quad bike theft, poaching and hare coursing can be committed by perpetrators travelling into North Yorkshire from adjoining counties.
Over the last few years thanks to the creation of the rural police taskforce and the development of rural watch volunteers, far more work is being done to track, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes.
Philip Allott plans an expansion of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system to target drivers who are coming across the border from neighbouring counties as well as more local suspects with a track record of being involved in rural crimes. Those identified could be stopped on the basis of reasonable suspicion and have their vehicles searched. In law “reasonable suspicion” for traffic stops requires that the officer have articulable facts that criminal activity is afoot or Section 163 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 specifies that A person driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road must stop the vehicle on being required to do so by a constable in uniform or a traffic officer.
More police resources will also be devoted to ensuing (post COVID-19) that sufficient evidence is obtained to have more persecutions and increased publicity about those successfully prosecuted.
The costs of these changes haven’t been calculated and would require further ANPR cameras, core system changes and additional staff.
Rural criminals have little regard for the farming community, and often cause animal cruelty, steal valuable farm equipment and cause thousands of pounds of damage to crops and farmland each year. Rural communities face intimidation, and the threat of violence if they challenge offenders, leaving them feeling vulnerable to further crimes, particularly in the more isolated locations. I want an even tougher line to make it clear to the perpetrators that if you break the law you will be arrested and held to account.
The penalties for committing rural crimes such as hare coursing can be severe with unlimited fines under the Hunting Act and if intimidation, theft or violence is involved, imprisonment, and a criminal record. Philip supports a growing call for even tougher sentences for hare coursing and any other animal cruelty.