The aims of Farm Watch are:
- To reduce opportunities for crime to occur in farming and rural communities.
- To strengthen community spirit, so that everyone works together to protect their property.
- To improve communication between the farming community and the police.
- To encourage people to report suspicious incidents as they occur
The services offered by the Farm Watch scheme include:
- Practical crime prevention advice to farmers and landowners, to help ensure their property and goods are as secure as possible.
- A property marking scheme to make it harder for thieves to dispose of stolen goods.
- A text alert service.
- A new and improved website section to keep members updated with the latest crime trends and prevention tips.
The key aim of Farm Watch is to stress the importance of vigilance and communication – both within rural and farming communities and between rural communities and Sussex Police.
Chief Constable Richards said: “Since it was first set up in the Horsham area in 2003, the Farm Watch scheme has gradually spread across Sussex and is now an established, valuable resource to Sussex Police in our fight against rural crime.
“Sussex Farm Watch already has about 1800 farmers registered, who provide valuable support and assistance – both to other Farm Watch members and to police officers who deal with rural crime.
“Farm Watch helps reduce opportunities for crime to occur in farming and rural communities. Essential to this is encouraging people to report suspicious incidents to the police as they occur and also share the information with other Farm Watch members. As well as helping to deter crime, this strengthens community spirit, with everyone working together to protect their property.
“Farmers often have a great deal of capital spread over a large expanse of land. Some stock and equipment is portable and can be relatively easy to steal. Whilst property can never be made totally secure, becoming a Farm Watch member undoubtedly reduces the risk of becoming a victim of farming or rural crime.
“I’d encourage farmers, or any members of the rural community who feel they may benefit, to sign up to Farm Watch as soon as possible.”