Young farmers are being trained to help in fighting rural crime.
A bespoke training course – Helping Farmers to Prevent Crime – has been developed by The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) and the Police Crime Prevention Academy (the Academy), in association with NFU Mutual.
Inspired by an initiative started by Cumbria Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) with their local Neighbourhood Watch, the course will be available to deliver nationally from 24 April 2023 to all 577 Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) across England and Wales.
Rural crime costs the UK an estimated £40.5m, according to NFU Mutual, and continues to be a great cause of concern for the wider rural community.
Farmers are often targeted by criminals due to their remote locations with easy access to high-value equipment.
With more than 22,000 YFC members based in rural locations, it is hoped NFYFC’s training will raise awareness of crime prevention among a large group of young people who can help influence their local communities.
The new course will:
Help members understand the impact of rural crime, financially and emotionally.
Raise awareness of the practical ways young farmers can help to identify vulnerabilities on their own and local farms.
Enable participants to take actions on their own farms to prevent themselves from becoming victims of crime.
Signpost YFCs to the resources and support available.
YFCs are also encouraged to invite local police neighbourhood officers to attend the session and/or the local NFU Mutual representative.
Young farmers from Penrith YFC took part in a pilot session for the new course in March.
Cumbria County Chair Will Longmire said: “Cumbria County Federation of YFC is proud to have started this initiative and we’re delighted it has been turned into a resource that can now be used by all YFCs across England and Wales.
“Young Farmers can safeguard their future livelihoods by being aware of simple steps to help prevent crime and by making practical suggestions to the farms of neighbours and friends. It also means YFCs can contribute to the overall safety of their neighbours and local communities.”
As the current economic situation worsens and insurance premiums increase, being a victim of crime could be a critical factor in a farm being lost to the next generation of farmers. The stretched resources of partner agencies such as the police and the under-reporting of crime in rural communities can make a bad situation worse.
Bob Henderson, National Technical Engineering Manager at NFU Mutual, said: “As the UK’s leading rural insurer, we know the disruption, cost and worry rural crime causes for many farming communities and are pleased to support the roll-out of this initiative.
“It was great to see Cumbria’s young farmers successfully help fellow farmers protect their farmyards, livestock and machinery from thieves in the pilot, highlighting the importance of working collaboratively with Police and the rural community to make it difficult for thieves to operate in the countryside.
“Last year we invested over £400,000 in rural crime fighting initiatives.”