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PCC John Campion said: “I understand the damage rural crime can cause to communities that often feel isolated. In West Mercia we have seen a 15% (238) increase in rural crime from the same month last year.

“To combat the increase in rural crime I continue to fund 5 Rural and Business Crime Officers who work in heart of rural communities across West Mercia. On a daily basis they work with residents and businesses to increase public confidence, promote crime prevention, provide advice and guidance, and work with the public and partners to reduce the crimes that most impact rural and business communities.

“My ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ initiative has made £176,574 available to Upper Tier Local Authority Councillors in 2022-23. Towns and villages that have signed up to the scheme have seen 70% of residential properties marked with SmartWater. We Don’t Buy Crime signs have also been installed through villages and towns warning potential offenders to prevent burglary.

“A common problem in rural areas is flytipping. I want to properly tackle this issue so I have awarded £100,000 over a two year period (2021-22 and 2022-23) to five Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs). By working closely with each of the CSPs, we can identify workable ideas and proposals to help eradicate this damaging criminal offence.

“I understand there is always more we can do to build safer, more secure rural communities. I will continue to update you on my work with communities and partners to tackle rural crime.”

Read the BBC article on rural crime