Rural & Wildlife team bolstered by new officer
Rural communities in Suffolk will now benefit from an additional Rural & Wildlife police officer joining the team.
PC Colin Taylor will join PC Andre de Jongh, PC Kevin Stollery and Sgt Brian Calver, who leads the Rural & Wildlife team, in providing dedicated and expert support to other officers who may need their advice with an investigation based around rural/wildlife matters.
The role that PC Taylor has assumed has come from funding provided by Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner’s 4.69% increase to the policing element of council tax precept for this financial year. This rise will ensure the force continues to improve coordination to address rural criminality and increase visibility in rural areas.
The team will also have access to a new vehicle that will transport a drone to help tackle rural and wildlife crime.
The 4x4 vehicle will be used to carry a drone to support police across a wide range of rural incidents including:
•Tackling hare coursing
•Preventing and detecting ruralthefts
•Preventing and detecting heritagecrime such as the theft of church roof lead
•Monitoring hunts to establish ifoffences are being committed and to identify offenders
•Large-scale openfires or complex structural fires
•Missing person searches
•Pre-plannedoperations and risk information gathering
These Rural and Wildlife officers will also engage with farmers and landowners in rural locations providing crime prevention and support, as well as liaising with wildlife agencies and other neighbouring police forces on rural based criminality.
The officers, who have all undertaken nationally recognised specialist wildlife and rural police training, will be based at Bury St Edmunds and Halesworth and will be on hand to provide other officers with specialist advice and expertise.
The team will also be training other officers on issues such as hare coursing and hunting. This will mean officers initially called to such an incident will have the confidence and knowledge to immediately investigate such a crime, but with the reassurance there is dedicated expertise on hand if needed.
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Jones said: "To be able to provide this drone vehicle will enhance our ability to swiftly get to incidents that are based around rural or wildlife issues. I am confident that it will make a significant contribution to our work with partners to keep our rural communities safe.”
Temp. Chief Inspector Andy Martin said: "The specialist support provided by the team of four will improve our frontline ability to respond and deal with rural and wildlife offences. It will also allow for better coordination of resources, cross border policing and partnership working.
"This will bolster our ability to support rural communities and landowners, as well as provide greater bespoke crime prevention and problem-solving advice.
"Additionally, the training they will also give to other officers will broaden the overall knowledge base and understanding across the force of rural and wildlife-based criminality.”
PC Colin Taylor said: "I have always enjoyed the outdoor life and grew up in a farm working family and in my early 20s I worked in farming full time before joining the police 17 and a half years ago.
"I am passionate about the countryside and the rural way of life. I have a keen interest in the history and heritage of our countryside and look forward to engaging with the rural community and partner agencies to share information and tackle rural, wildlife and heritage issues.”
PC Andre de Jongh who has also recently joined the team said: "Having worked on various wildlife research and community conservation projects in Botswana and South Africa for as long as I can remember I joined Suffolk Police in 2005 as a PCSO and later in 2008 as a PC.
"After years on a response team I joined the Rural North SNT, then based in Ixworth where I forged strong ties with rural communities. Coming from a very rural back ground I am passionate about the conservation, protection and preservation of nature and all the resources and wonders that she has to offer.
"Joining the Rural and Wildlife Team gives me the opportunity to work with a great team of dedicated colleagues who share the same passions.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk Tm Passmore said: "Suffolk is one of the most attractive rural counties in the UK and it needs good policing the same as anywhere else - that’s what people expect and pay for.
"This expansion of the rural crime policing team is especially welcome. The remote nature of our many rural settlements can result in a greater threat from criminals due to their isolated locations.
"The extra officer and equipment are financed through the increase in this year’s council tax and I know this will make a real difference right across the county. The additional drone will help officers detect those who wish to do harm to the economy and our wildlife heritage.
"People who live in rural areas pay their taxes the same as everyone else so it is important to me as PCC that the whole county receives its fair share of policing resources. The intention is to make the whole of Suffolk a particularly hostile place for criminals, including our remote market towns and villages.”