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Rural Crime

Volume 592: debated on Monday 9 February 2015

9. What recent representations she has received on the level of rural crime; and if she will make a statement. (907496)

I have received a number of representations about crime in rural areas from hon. Members, members of the public and interested organisations. We do not underestimate the impact that crime can have on those who live in rural areas. That is why we support the National Rural Crime Network, and awarded it £40,000 last year from the police innovation fund to assist its work.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that fly grazing is a heinous rural crime and is on the increase, and that it is frequently associated with other crimes such as stolen vehicles or driving without insurance? Will the Government introduce exactly the same law as applies in southern Ireland, to prevent these fly grazers from remaining for more than two days on any private land?

I thank my hon. Friend, and I agree that it is a heinous crime—and it is animal cruelty, in fact. Police and crime commissioners are making crime in rural areas a priority, and over 60% of PCCs in England and Wales have joined the National Rural Crime Network. That includes an online resource that allows police and partners and others to share information, training and case studies. Although we have no plans to introduce the criminal offence that my hon. Friend suggests, together with this kind of communication, organisations such as Horsewatch and Farm Watch can bring such crime down.