The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has launched a five-week long policing operation to raise awareness and help combat rural and wildlife crime. Operation Subrision kicked off yesterday (Wednesday, May 10) and will run until Sunday, June 18.
The operation aims to ensure that resources are deployed across all districts of Northern Ireland to “deter and detect” those types of crimes with a dedicated policing strategy in place. PSNI rural and wildlife crime lead Supt. Johnston McDowell said: “In May, we traditionally see an increase in related rural and wildlife crime reporting, as rural activity gathers momentum, with the return of the much-anticipated Balmoral Show.
“As people spend more time in rural areas, criminals seek to exploit the increased opportunities for related criminality, targeting properties by way of distraction burglaries and even cold calling. The police service is committed to tackling, disrupting and preventing rural and wildlife crime, and officers have spent a considerable amount of time listening, understanding and working with those living in rural areas to identify local concerns.”
McDowell said the PSNI wishes to work towards reducing opportunities for these types of crimes by increasing public awareness, working with other partner agencies to identify ways of preventing crime and targeting and arresting those committing such offences.
“We have significant officers working rural beats and focusing on rural and wildlife crimes; every ward across Northern Ireland including all rural wards, have an identified and named neighbourhood officer allocated,” he said. “Maintaining and improving our visible police patrols will provide an effective response to calls for help within rural areas, and officers will also continue to attend farming and rural events to provide crime prevention advice and distribute appropriate literature.
“We hope this focus demonstrates our commitment to addressing rural and wildlife crime, and I would ask for the continued support of rural communities as we move forward.”
The PSNI has urged the public to report any suspicious activity or crime, and to take steps to protect their property. The force has also issued a list of crime prevention tips for those living in rural areas, including securing outbuildings, marking property with a UV pen, and installing security lighting and cameras.
Rural and wildlife crime can have a devastating impact on local communities, with farmers and rural businesses particularly vulnerable. In recent years, there has been a rise in the theft of livestock, machinery, and other equipment, as well as illegal hunting and poaching.
The PSNI’s Operation Subrision is a welcome initiative to combat these types of crimes and protect rural communities. By increasing public awareness and working closely with partner agencies, the force hopes to reduce opportunities for criminals and bring offenders to justice.
It is important that rural communities work together with the police to report any suspicious activity and take steps to protect their property. By working together, we can help to ensure that Northern Ireland’s rural areas remain safe and secure for all.