Lancashire Police are first-time winners of new award as 'most proactive rural crime team in the UK'

The South Rural Crime Taskforce have become the first winners of a prestigious national award from the Construction Equipment Association, for being the most proactive rural crime team in the UK.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 10:52 am

The Rob Oliver Award - for excellence in the fight against construction plant and agricultural machinery theft was recognised due to the team conducting more plant machinery checks and seizures than any other force in the UK.

The South Rural Taskforce covers Chorley, South Ribble, Preston and West Lancashire and comprises of four officers, PC Stewart, PC Dalby, PC Williams and PC Levitt.

The team has only been established since March 2021 and in its short time has already achieved a long list of successes within the rural community including seizing 61 animals exposed to cruelty and neglect, recovered 173 stolen vehicles and plant equipment, security marked in excess of £800,000 of equipment, prosecuted 98 offenders and conducted 74 occasions of partnership work.

The team with their well-deserved award.

Superintendent Gary Crowe of Lancashire Police said: “I’m incredibly proud of the team and their achievements to date in such a short time. These figures are testament to the commitment, dedication and hard work they all put in and they are all clearly passionate about their job and that comes across in the work that they do.”

The award was attended by Superintendent Andy Huddleston, who is the NPCC national lead for agricultural machinery and plant theft.

“Rural crime is responsible for £17m agricultural crimes a year and £4-8m crimes within construction. This in turn has an impact on the cost of food and on businesses. I’m delighted to have been involved in presenting this award and want to congratulate the whole team and Lancashire Police for the outstanding work they’ve done and encouraging people to use security on their machinery.”

Andrew Snowden, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner added: "It is heartening to see the impact that the rural taskforces are having by being dedicated to serving rural communities and addressing their unique policing needs. I am determined to build on this progress as I develop my Police and Crime Plan and look at future investment into rural policing.

“This is all part of my commitment to the people of Lancashire that all of Lancashire’s areas and communities, from more rural areas to our largest cities, feel protected. I will be working closely with the Chief Constable on the issues that matter to people, such as anti-social behaviour and getting tough on reoffending, as I lead the fight against crime in Lancashire.”