Ulster Farmers’ Union deputy president and Rathfriland farmer Barclay Bell, has accompanied PSNI officers from County Armagh on a police operation to tackle criminality in rural areas.
This was a joint operation between four neighbouring PSNI policing districts, DARD, Garda, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Road Safety Authority (RSA) Ireland.
The operation included various checkpoints including one at the border in Middletown.
“It was good to experience first-hand the PSNI and the other organisations working together. By being at the centre of this operation I gained a better understanding of the work involved and saw for myself a pro-active drive to tackling rural crime at a local level,” said Mr Bell.
He added that the operation highlighted how the presence and co-ordinated efforts of the PSNI was central to any crack down on theft in rural areas. The PSNI also explained that the information received from rural dwellers is imperative to tackling the issue.
“Rural people are the eyes and ears of the rural community and we would encourage any valuable information to be passed on to the PSNI or Crimestoppers,” said Mr Bell.
The UFU believes a joined-up approach is needed and Mr Bell said this operation was a good example of how the PSNI can work well with other organisations to tackle crimes that are a big source of frustration and economic loss for farmers.
“We will continue to lobby to ensure this type of work and good practice is replicated consistently across all policing districts in Northern Ireland,” said Mr Bell, adding that the UFU will continue to work with the PSNI so that the issue of rural crime remains high on their agenda.