Ards and North Down PCSP and PSNI Relaunch Farm Watch Scheme.
Farm Watch is a rural initiative supported by the Ards and North Down Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP). It is delivered by the PSNI’s neighbourhood policing teams and Crime Prime Prevention Officer in the Borough of Ards and North Down.
Figures from the PSNI’s recently published Agricultural and Rural Crime in Northern Ireland Report indicate a fall in incidents through Northern Ireland but in Ards and North Down, reported incidents doubled from 6 to 12 in the past year.
Farm Watch is a regional initiative that aims to address concerns raised by the rural communities across the Borough providing them with a range of support to help reduce the risk of becoming a victim to rural crime.
Support includes the provision of property signage to advertise the scheme, a farm machinery marking scheme, and an e-mail and text alert service to inform and update rural residents of criminal activity in the area.
The Chair of the PCSP, Councillor Nick Mathison, said: “I encourage the public to listen to the PSNI advice and take the simple steps to keep themselves and their neighbours safe from becoming victims of burglary. Remember, if you see anything suspicious, please report it to the police immediately.”
PSNI Superintendent, Brian Kee, said: “We are committed to reducing rural and agricultural crime and want to work with farmers and communities in finding ways to reduce opportunities for crime to occur.
“Farm Watch is a good deterrent and I would urge members of the farming community in Ards and North Down Borough to sign up to this local scheme.”
UFU Ards Group Chair, Fergal Watson, said: “Rural crime is an ongoing concern for every farming family and the Farm Watch scheme will help provide extra security for our farmers in the Ards and North Down area. With various services being offered through the scheme from unique reference numbers for machinery to property marking, we are encouraging local farmers to sign up to help protect their farm business.
“Rural thieves have no limits and, in the past, have stolen livestock as well as farm machinery and other equipment from private yards and land.
“Animals are at the core of the majority of farm businesses in NI and to lose stock is detrimental not to mention machinery which is needed to carry out daily tasks. In some incidents, these crimes have happened yards away from farmers’ houses leaving them and their families feeling extremely vulnerable in their own homes.
“By joining the Farm Watch scheme, farmers can take comfort knowing that their premises have been assessed and all vital security measures have been put in place to protect their family and farm.”