The Mayor of Antrim and a senior police officer have met to discuss the effects of criminality on the local farming community.
Education, prevention and detection were the key words which emerged from the meeting between Inspector Derek McCamley, Community Safety D District and Mayor of Antrim, Councillor Roderick Swann last week.
The meeting which took place at Antrim Civic Centre provided an opportunity for Inspector McCamley to offer advice and provide information to Councillor Swann, a local farmer, about what he can do to minimise the chances of becoming a victim of crime.
Inspector McCamley explains: “Police take rural and agricultural crime seriously and we are very much aware of the impact of rural crime upon rural communities and of the devastating effect this has on individuals and on their businesses.
“Farmwatch is a crime prevention initiative which has been up and running throughout D District for some time. The scheme provides advice and information on protecting property in rural areas.
“Police and Crime Prevention Officers have visited local markets and rural groups to promote the scheme and provide advice to the farming community on protecting their property and taking steps to reduce the chance of becoming a victim of crime.
“We have invited the rural and agricultural community to register for the scheme to receive ongoing information about crime and crime prevention measures. Those on the scheme receive signage to erect on their property and are encouraged to report suspicious activity in their area. This information is then shared amongst all participants of Farmwatch in the area.
“Another strand of Farmwatch is the trailer marking scheme. Trailer marking involves a unique ID mark, consisting of a series of letters and numbers, being painted on a trailer in an easily visible area using specialist paint and stencils. The trailer owner’s details and ID mark are recorded and held on a PSNI database which can then be checked if a trailer is seen on the road or in a location at a time that’s unusual.
“I would encourage anyone who would like to take advantage of our crime prevention service to contact our crime prevention officers who can provide advice and tips on protecting your property.”
Speaking of the meeting, Councillor Swann said: “Having been subjected to a recent burglary of outhouses at my farm, I am particularly interested in the information and advice that Inspector McCamley has provided today.
“We all have our part to play in assisting the police and ensuring that we have done our best in making sure we do not become a victim of crime; that is why I have signed up to the Farmwatch scheme and would recommend that all members of our rural and agricultural community to do likewise.”
Anyone who is interested in working with police to tackle rural crime can contact their local neighbourhood policing team on 0845 600 8000.