Talking to local farmers at present inevitably leads most to relate their frustration with the police and the steps they take to safeguard rural communities, writes Chris Carter.
This issue has a very real relevance locally because of the almost unprecedented influx of people from urban conurbations who travel sometimes great distances to indulge their illegal passion for hare coursing. The Fens generally are ideal for this pursuit, excuse the pun, as these people have an unrivalled view of their dogs as they chase hares on farmland.
Farmers recently had a meeting with the PCC for Lincolnshire, Marc Jones, as well as rural beat police officers who were liberally regaled with some alarming tales of trespass, damage and threats made to farmers, myself included. While Marc Jones expressed much sympathy with the plight of those in the front line in remote communities, most who attended the meeting seemed to believe that it was almost a complete re-run of meetings held over the last year and the nett result of all of this hot air is the better part of nothing.
We are all too aware that there is a serious shortfall in funding our police forces and, not unnaturally, they concentrate their resources within densely populated urban communities, leaving us in the countryside relatively unprotected. All of us in the countryside are increasingly frustrated with the poor response when we telephone to report incidents to people who plainly have no understanding of the level of threat or vulnerability most of us feel when confronted with these criminals.
Sooner or later this lack of action will inevitably result in something rather more serious as country folk are forced to attempt to resolve matters themselves.