Body cameras could help farmers fight rural crime
Body cameras of the type used by police could be farmers’ last line of defense in the fight against rural crime.
North Wales Police (NWP) say the technology can help protect farmers who often work alone in remote areas.
See also: Rural crime: the mental and financial toll of farmers
If a farmer has to deal with hare hunters or intruders, for example, a switch turns on the camera and begins recording and sends their exact location to a chosen contact using GPS.
The cameras, manufactured by security firm Digital Barriers, have found military use for a number of years, and interest in rural law enforcement is growing.
NWP is leading a Future Farms project that is examining ways in which technology can be used to fight rural crime.
A North Wales farm uses a camera, along with ground sensors that detect movement around a perimeter and send alerts and live video if an intruder or vehicle approaches.
PC Dewi Evans, NWP Rural Crime Team, said: “In recent years we have seen more and more rural communities and businesses being targeted by criminals.
“Therefore, it is essential that rural businesses use the right security methods to protect their assets. Criminals should know that the farm they are targeting could be equipped with this advanced technology. “
Kenny Long, of Digital Barriers, said spikes in rural crime during the coronavirus pandemic prompted more investment in CCTV and security.
“The main use cases right now include theft, such as residential and non-residential burglary, livestock and machinery, illegal raves, poaching, drug smuggling across roads and counties,” Mr. Long said.
A recent survey of nearly 2,000 farmers in England and Wales revealed the true extent of rural crime.
Nationally, farmers reported suffering an average loss of £ 4,400 due to rural crime, and almost 60% of respondents said they believed crime levels were increasing.
In Wales, one in five farmers said they had been a victim of rural crime in 2020. More than half of the crimes were thefts (52%), almost a third (29%) were trespassing and 16% tips.