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Watch Out, Keep Criminals Out, Speak Out

A new Crimestoppers campaign aimed at tackling rural crime has been launched.
Wednesday, 5 December 2012

I hope this campaign will help reduce rural crime and importantly, reduce the fear of crime that rural residents often feel.

Minister of Justice David Ford MLA,Northern Ireland Department of Justice

Jointly launched by Justice Minister David Ford and Agricultural and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill, the campaign encourages rural communities to be vigilant, provides advice on crime prevention measures and encourages the reporting of criminal activity.

The campaign is the result of partnership working between DOJ, DARD, Crimestoppers, PSNI, NI Environment Agency, NI Water, Ulster Farmers Union and NFU Mutual.  

Speaking at the launch at the Crosby Cleland Farm in Saintfield, Justice Minister David Ford said: “I understand that rural communities have particular community safety concerns.  The theft of livestock or machinery is distressing for victims and can damage the sustainability of farming businesses.  

“I hope this campaign will help reduce rural crime and importantly, reduce the fear of crime that rural residents often feel.”

The Justice Minister also highlighted how building safer rural communities is a key strand of the Community Safety Strategy.  David Ford continued: “I would encourage people in rural areas to engage with their local Policing and Community Safety Partnerships to ensure their views and needs are reflected in local action plans.

“Tackling rural crime relies on strong partnership working across and beyond Government.  I therefore welcome the commitment from each of the partners involved in this initiative.”

DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Rural crime is a major concern to our rural communities, which are often isolated and vulnerable. DARD enforcement staff have been working closely with the PSNI in a number of cases of livestock theft, developing communication channels and conducting joint inspections and investigations.

“Information from the public is a vital part of tackling rural crime and I am confident that this campaign will encourage many more people in the farming community to come forward and report suspicious activity anonymously. A united front against crime in the countryside will help us to defeat the criminals and make our localities safer.”

The Chair of Crimestoppers Voluntary Board in Northern Ireland, Barry Byrne said: “Crimestoppers is delighted to be involved in this project and we thank the various partners for their support.  Crimestoppers is an independent charity providing a vital service to the public, enabling them to pass information in relation to crime anonymously in order to make Northern Ireland a safer place for all of us.

“The public can provide any information, no matter how small, 24 hours a day either by phone 0800 555 111 or online with guaranteed anonymity and without it even showing on their phone bill.”

UFU Deputy President Barclay Bell said: “Rural crime is an issue that the UFU takes very seriously due to the impact it has on rural businesses, the sustainability of these businesses and on the local rural community. The scale of farm thefts has become a high profile issue and several recent incidents where large numbers of livestock were stolen illustrate how farmers can quickly become victims of crime with serious consequences for their businesses. Innovative projects are already underway in various regions across Northern Ireland and we hope that this joint initiative will help overcome the growing problem of rural crime.”

NFU Mutual Regional Director for Northern Ireland, Martin Malone said:  "As the insurer of three quarters of the farms in Northern Ireland we know that rural crime is having a devastating effect on the lives of many farming families and are therefore pleased to be helping finance this initiative."

Notes to editors

  1. The campaign will include adshels, billboards, the distribution of campaign posters/leaflets, the use of farm vehicle stickers, social media and the promotion of crime prevention measures.
  2. The public can provide any information, no matter how small, 24 hours a day to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
  3. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.