Rural policing campaign is 
put to the test

PCSO Tom Bailey doing the ANPR patrol on Southam Road as part of the rural crime action week
PCSO Tom Bailey doing the ANPR patrol on Southam Road as part of the rural crime action week

Following a story in last week’s Banbury Guardian which raised questions about rural policing in the Banbury area, reporter Hanna Ljunggren decided to join the police for a day to see what they really get up to.

The Banbury Rural Neighbourhood police team carried out an action week to tackle rural crime between April 23 and 28.

Following its launch, Great Bourton farmer Brian Cannon spoke out, saying the team ‘lacked co-ordination’ and that investigations often took too long. To put the team to the test, I went along on an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) patrol aimed at catching any vehicles related to rural crime activity.

It was a very wet Friday and it certainly seemed like the criminals stayed indoors because not a single person was hauled in. But this gave me a good opportunity to quiz the officers about what they actually get up to on a daily basis.

PCSO Tom Bailey said: “It’s all about preventing people from becoming repeat victims.

“As soon as you lock someone up, another group will come along but, of course, if there are no victims, they won’t get anything. It’s all about being out in the community and knowing the people in your area.

“I can try policing from behind a computer but I’m not going to do a good job. ” Mr Bailey said one way of tackling rural crime is to encourage communication within the rural community. A total of 26 farms between Chacombe and the Warwickshire border have all joined forces to ensure they keep each other in the loop.

Mr Bailey said: “The key is to get farmers to communicate with each other instead of all of them having to get in touch with us individually.”

After the patrol, Mr Bailey had visits lined up in five villages relating to incidents which had happened during the night.

The team comprises one inspector, one sergeant, three PCs and three PCSOs covering about 40 villages north and west of Banbury. To get in touch, e-mail or call 101.