Cloud of ‘under-reporting’ cast over rural crime value decrease in Lincolnshire

Chief Inspector Stuart Brinn.
Chief Inspector Stuart Brinn.

The officer in charge of policing rural crime across Lincolnshire has given a cautious welcome to figures showing that its cost to the county has fallen.

The officer in charge of policing rural crime across Lincolnshire has given a cautious welcome to figures showing that its cost to the county has fallen.

Data fed to us from the NRCN shows that there is a massive perception of rural crime being under-reported.

Chief Inspector Stuart Brinn

But Chief Inspector Stuart Brinn has warned that NFU Mutual’s survey showing that tractor, bike, oil and diesel thefts, as well as other agricultural, environmental and heritage-based crimes in the county, was down from £2.2 million in 2013 to £1.8 million last year told only half the story.

Initial findings from a survey by the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) show that not all crimes in rural areas are being reported.

Chief Inspector Brinn said: “NFU Mutual’s figures for Lincolnshire do make quite good reading, with a 20 per cent drop in the value of rural crime, when other forces have seen a significant rise.

“But data fed to us from the NRCN shows that there is a massive perception of rural crime being under-reported.

“We hope it’s due to the fact that we’re displacing rural crime in our area as we’ve had some fairly significant successes in terms of dealing with organised criminal gangs coming into the county and targeting both individuals and areas.”

Nationally, rural crime cost an estimated £37.8 million in 2014, down from £44.5 million the previous year, with eastern England the worst affected region where rural crime cost an estimated £6.3 million.

Chief Inspector Brinn said: “We have less officers available for dealing with this type of crime than most other forces, so the chances of coming across things almost on a luck basis are incredibly limited.

“I think we’ll continue to see reductions based on the normal principles of prevention and detection, but to get to a stage where resources are targeted more effectively, we need to know what’s going on.