Local News

Rural coppers come a cropper- shocking new figures reveal Norfolk has ZERO officers assigned to rural crime team.

3 Apr 2024
John Crofts (L) and Steff Aquarone (R)

The force, which has been headed for the past eight years by Conservative Police and Crime Commissioners, was forced to admit that it lacked a rural crime team following a Freedom of Information request from the Liberal Democrats.

The cost of rural crime in Norfolk surged by over 50% to £1.5m in 2022, figures from NFU Mutual show. Yet Norfolk Constabulary has failed to follow other rural forces in having a specified rural crime team.

The Liberal Democrats, who have announced local councillor John Crofts as their candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner, have slammed the revelations and pledged to establish a team if elected on May 2nd. The party would seek to utilise funds from the huge expenditure from the PCCs in previous years, with over £1m being spent on office costs and expenses by the Norfolk PCC from 2019-2022.

Steff Aquarone, the Liberal Democrats parliamentary candidate for the heavily-rural North Norfolk constituency, also expressed his shock at the findings. Steff is supporting John’s campaign, and has joined calls for a dedicated rural crime team in Norfolk.

The Lib Dems have been taking on the Conservatives across Norfolk, and winning. Having taken three County Council seats in by-elections since 2021, they also lead Broadland and North Norfolk District Councils having defeated Conservative opposition in the 2023 local elections.

Cllr John Crofts, Liberal Democrat candidate for Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner, said:

“I’m appalled that Norfolk Constabulary has no dedicated rural crime team. Everyone knows Norfolk is a rural county, and people in rural areas know the pain that crime causes them. The fact that our local Police and Crime Commissioner has failed to make this a priority is an outrage.

“As your next Police and Crime Commissioner, I would establish a rural crime team on day one, to crack down on the damage that rural crime inflicts on our communities. Perhaps if the Conservative Commissioners hadn’t forked out over £1m in office costs, they would have the money to fund a serious clamp down on this rural crime wave.

The Liberal Democrats are the clear challengers to the Conservatives in rural Norfolk, and we are the party who is prepared to make tackling rural crime a priority. People in rural Norfolk have been let down for too long, and deserve a fair deal from their Police and Crime Commissioner.”

Steff Aquarone, who is standing to be the next Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, said:

“Rural crime becomes yet another area in which the Conservatives are failing people in Norfolk. It beggars belief that Norfolk Constabulary is without a team dedicated to tackling rural crime.

“I’ve spoken to hundreds of people across North Norfolk in the past few months, and rural crime is always among the top issues that people raise. We need to get more dedicated officers working to tackle this problem, and I’ll work alongside John Crofts to stamp out the rural crime which causes so much pain in our communities.

“We need a return to community policing, a focus on rural crime, and an end to the constant closures of our police stations. The only party that can deliver on the policing priorities of rural Norfolk is the Liberal Democrats.”

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