Farmers in Wales concerned about the security of their property can sign up to Farm Watch, an initiative which helps to identify and tackle rural crime.
The project supports the award-winning “On-Line Watch Link” (O.W.L.), whereby registered members can receive alerts via SMS, email, telephone or fax when farm-related crimes are committed in their area. The aim is to connect local police with their communities, not only to warn of the proximity of criminal activity, but also to receive feedback and information which might assist in their investigations and so help prevent further similar incidents.
Farm Watch is a spin-off from the urban Neighbourhood Watch which has proved popular in the UK over the past few years. There are many Farm Watch schemes in and around the Principality, but it has been so successful in Gwent that rural crime has actually fallen by around 27% in the region. It has led directly to several arrests as well as the recovery of stolen tools, expensive farm machinery and quad bikes. It has also been used to track and locate missing livestock.
The appointment of a Police Farm Watch Co-ordinator in Gwent has helped to boost membership to over 800, and the Force were winners at the NFU Mutual Country Crime Fighters Awards last October, in recognition of the success of the scheme in their area.
For more information on O.W.L. or to find your nearest scheme, visit http://www.owl.co.uk/gwent/
Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.