Harper Adams University: Impact of rural crime teams focus of Harper Adams academic’s latest research

Dr Kreseda Smith, a Rural Criminologist and member of the Rural Security Research Group, is asking rural residents in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to share their experience of the work of rural crime teams – scores of which have been set up in recent years to deal specifically with incidences of crime in rural areas.

Dr Smith said: “Previous research has indicated that levels of confidence among rural communities in the ability of the police to tackle rural crime are at a historic low.

“In light of the growing number of Rural Crime Policing Teams across the UK, I am exploring whether these dedicated Rural Crime Teams instil increased levels of confidence in rural residents that crime will be appropriately and effectively addressed.”

The research is among a series of projects being carried out by the Rural Security Research Group, a dedicated research centre at Harper Adams which brings together an interdisciplinary team of criminologists, behavioural scientists, geographers, and agriculturalists to examine and address emerging risks to the rural economy and food chain.

The group are active in both research and advisory roles to a range of institutions, and work with the agricultural industry, NGOs, International Organisations, policy makers, law enforcement officials and communities to build effective evidence based resilient responses to issues.

Dr Smith’s research will be will be presented and discussed in relation to future policy and practice implications for police forces across the United Kingdom – and used to re-examine both how these forces think about rural crime, and how they engage with rural communities.

Anyone who lives in a rural area and has been the target of a crime within the last year can take part – by simply filling out a short questionnaire online. The survey is anonymous and no identifying or personal data is asked for or retained.

Dr Smith added: “I am asking all rural residents from across the four nations who have been a victim of crime within the last 12 months to please take just five minutes to give me your thoughts on your interactions with the police and how effective they are at tackling rural crime.”

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