Essex Police and partner agencies have come together for the launch of a new policing operation aimed at tackling rural crime.
Operation Buzzard is an initiative to coordinate all rural crime related operations in Essex. These operations will make best use of all the specialist teams and help ensure the force is in the best position to tackle a range of rural crime offences.
The launch took place at Cherry Tree Orchard farm in Orsett, where the newly established Thurrock Rural Community Policing Team joined forces with their special constable and wildlife officer colleagues to discuss specific issues affecting rural areas and share ideas on what can be done to increase awareness of and help prevent rural crime.
As part of the launch, Rural and Heritage Crime Officer Pc Andy Long drew upon his vast experience of working with the rural community to speak about the different types of rural crime, including theft of farm machinery and equipment.
Officers also heard from Sgt Aaron Connolly of the Essex Police Drone Team who demonstrated how the force drone can be used to gather intelligence and bring to justice offenders who are persistently committing crime in the countryside.
Representatives from the environment agency and Angling Trust were on hand to talk about their work and the importance of working together to reduce rural crime in the region.
Crime in rural Essex can range from theft of agricultural equipment, vehicles, livestock or fuel through to hare coursing, poaching and burglary. It can be perpetrated by opportunist criminals or organised groups who travel the countryside specially targeting rural locations.
Pc Long said: “Operation Buzzard gives us the opportunity to develop our response to rural crime with the assistance of new technologies such as the force drone which can help us gather evidence to crack down on offenders.
But we also need the support of local residents, farmers and rural businesses to act as our eyes and ears on the ground and report any suspicious activity.”