Writing a feature piece for a Leicestershire and Rutland rural publication has far reaching mutual benefit for both the police and the wider rural public.

Let me introduce myself…

My name is Rob Cross and I’m a rural police officer based at Market Bosworth. I started working for Leicestershire Police in January 2004 when I became a Special Constable – a voluntary police officer. I became a full time police officer in November 2008. I’ve worked in Wigston, Blaby, Market Harborough and Hinckley. I was the beat officer for Earl Shilton and Barwell and was asked to move over to Market Bosworth in early 2015 because of my rural background. 

I was (and in many ways still am) a Young Farmer. Being the Lutterworth Chairman in my younger days, and in 2009 / 2010 became Leicestershire YF County Chairman. It seemed quite fitting that I would eventually hold a role enhancing the relationship between farmers and country folk and the police. 

With the continued support of Sturgess, I like to think that the community as a whole feel safer seeing the distinctive Land Rover Defender in full police livery out and about around the Hinckley and Bosworth area. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Having the ability to identify with rural victims of crime and having a decent working knowledge of farms and the countryside certainly goes a long way to improve confidence. I appreciate that financially times are hard and the ‘Bobby on the beat’ is a relatively rarer breed than years ago, but the two way communication between us and the community is essential to achieve results. To that end we operate a FastText system where we send relevant text alerts and updates to local people. Have you seen a particular suspicious vehicle? A premises was burgled overnight. Did you see anything? We’ve even used it in the search for a local missing person. 

By virtue of their vulnerability, farms across Leicestershire and Rutland often fall victim to criminals. Thefts of high value plant and tractors, trailers and power tools have been reported. Offenders have been entering yards over fields in 4x4 vehicles in the early hours to avoid detection. It's definitely worth using quality locks, alarms, lights and sensors to lower the risk of being a target. 

Thefts of Land Rover Defenders and their parts are on the increase nationally. We are also seeing stolen and cloned prestige vehicles being recovered from container ships at ports destined for African and European destinations.  

If you want to be part of your local FastText group, message us via Facebook (search for Leicestershire and Rutland Rural Watch) or email: rural.watch@leicestershire.pnn.police.uk