Posted 21 August
The UK farming community has had an overwhelmingly positive response to the publication of Harper Adams University research on the effects of rural crime.
Dr Kreseda Smith, a Rural Criminologist and Senior Researcher with the Rural Security Research Group at Harper Adams University, published her work in June, detailing the impact that farm crime can have on farmers, the level of confidence farmers have in the police and other factors that influence farmers’ crime prevention decision making.
Kreseda said: “A lot of the farmers I’ve spoken to in the past and people I’ve spoken to since the report came out have said ‘this is what we’ve been trying to say for a long time and it’s great somebody outside the farming community has said the same thing.’ It’s something that I’m looking to do some more research around.”
Some members of the farming community who contributed to the study reported having trouble sleeping after becoming victims farm crime, with others considering leaving the sector altogether due to the stress of being targeted by criminals and not feeling as if they have the support of the wider policing community.
Kreseda is keen, however, to ensure the police are not judged too harshly by the findings of her report.
She continued: “Whilst the initial research was quite critical of the way the police are handling farm crime issues it goes beyond the police to the wider criminal justice system. Some of the other rural organisations, NFU and NFU Mutual, for example, have been really good at supporting my research. Everyone needs to talk to each other and pull together to try and improve things; it’s not just down to ‘the police’ or ‘the farmers,’ it’s got to be a collaborative effort.”
Moving forward Kreseda hopes that many more people from outside the farming community will become more understanding of the problems facing farmers and try to influence the way the media reports farm crime.
Kreseda hopes to complete further research to explore the psychological effects of farm crime.