Hampshire Constabulary’s commitment to tackling rural crime and speeding in villages has been welcomed by Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery after he met the force’s new chief constable Andy Marsh.
George, who is Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary Theresa May, visited Mr Marsh to discuss wider national policing issues and local rural crime and speeding problems.
“We had a great discussion about a wide range of issues and I was greatly impressed with the chief constable’s commitment to tackling rural crime and speeding,” said George.
“Rural crime is not often on the radar because thefts of diesel fuel or tack, or poaching happen over such a wide area in the Meon valley and across Hampshire.
“It’s fair to say if all this crime happened in just one district of any town there would be an outcry from residents, but it is happening on a regular basis, often in isolated areas, and it is of great concern to many in my constituency.
“The issue of speeding is also a serious problem and I was in Owslebury recently to discuss residents’ fears over speeding through the village especially in Hurst, Thompson’s and Whaddon Lanes.
“Mr Marsh and I spoke at length and the Community Speed Watch for Hampshire is a good way forward to tackle rural speeding and I will be liaising with the parish and county councils to address residents’ concerns and try and find a solution.
“I was also impressed that Mr Marsh is putting resources into the scourge of rural crime with the use of a Rural Crime Unit and this will be of comfort to rural communities while showing that the police are taking this very seriously.”
Mr Marsh said: “I am committed to making the rural environment of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight a more hostile place for those who choose to commit crime. Following a recent review into how we police our rural communities there are a number of initiatives being implemented that will help us achieve this, including the planned introduction of a Rural Crime Unit, improvements to our command and control mapping systems to help us respond more effectively, and a “target hardening” programme that is being delivered by our rural Safer Neighbourhood and Country Watch teams.”
“Looking forward there is still a lot to be done if we are to build on improving confidence in rural policing, but as a force we are committed to achieving this.”