Our County Councillor has provided a comprehensive update on the current situation with regard to Sheep attacks in the area

From: Cllr Adam Brown

You will be aware that in recent months there has been a spate of sheep killings across Northamptonshire and neighbouring counties. I have recently received a comprehensive briefing on the matter and I thought it may be useful to provide a summary to you so that you can advise your Councils and/or place items in village newsletters as you see fit.

In response to the livestock crimes the Police have established Operation Stock which did a number of things:

  • Brought all crimes under one investigative strategy
  • Appointed a gold/silver/bronze structure to the issue.
  • Received investment from the Office of the Fire Police and Crime Commissioner to kickstart immediate actions including overnight patrols of otherwise remote, rural, unpatrolled roads and locations, the production and posting of A1 correx roadside and gateway signs
  • Streamlined response to new calls and information created by the public demand and interest

The NFU has been incredibly helpful as a critical friend and hosted a farmers’ meeting with Police at a barn in Thornby, attended by over 130 local farmers and landowners. It was a tense but productive meeting where Police explained the very basic and elementary strategy, given the lack of witnesses, intelligence or information.

1. Police wanted to raise the awareness and involvement of the farming and rural community so that, with our help and advice, they could target harden their property
2. Police wanted to raise the awareness of the rural community and meat market so that intelligence and information would be more forthcoming.
3. Police intended to mount nightly patrols to be able to respond to farmer’s requests for visibility and respond to any calls created by 1 or 2. It is not a secret that resourcing levels, reductions in neighbourhood policing, and a proper emphasis on threat, harm and risk, would mean that otherwise, rural communities would not have overnight policing presence, unless part of a response to an emergency call on a rural area.
The road signs have been successful, and the operation has had some notable successes, falling short of prosecuting offenders (as yet). Of highlight are the following:

  • An unprecedented response to Neighbourhood Alert and media releases. Even a month later, interest and concern is not abating. Last Friday, Northamptonshire Police’s Press team had more media requests in one day than that which usually accompanies a whole major incident. The topic has been covered in the national broadsheets, on national radio, local radio and local television. There has been particular recent interest in the deployment of the Police/Fire drone at night time
  • Deployment of local farmers patrolling vulnerable areas equipped with front and rear dashboard cameras supplied by the NFU
  • The commitment of the Commissioner to supporting particular needs of the policing operation and response
  • Meeting of the Commissioner with representatives of the NFU to receive feedback and highlight issues of concern
  • Meeting of Rural Policing representatives last week at NFU Stoneleigh to discuss tactics, improve communications and crossflow of information and to plan next steps

Further meetings are planned for this week.

  • Daily briefings between police departments to include cross-border information flow
  • Integration of this investigation into a system known as DAMES – similar to those used in serious or major crimes, to ensure all information and actions are captured and responded to
  • Continuation of overnight patrols, press releases and Neighbourhood Alerts. Reports from Neighbourhood Watch and Village Facebook groups that membership is expanding with people asking what they can do, and increased reporting of suspicious incidents (other rural crime has reduced in this time)
  • The capture of evidence following forensic investigation of crime scenes. This has yielded some DNA opportunities which have been followed up. A man has been arrested in Portsmouth and interviewed by Northamptonshire officers, with some evidence recovered from his home address. He has been released under investigation.
  • Following reports of a suspicious van with the livery ‘Plantation Shuttering’ at a sheep farm in Warwickshire, this appeared on a number of occasions in our county. A Neighbourhood Alert prompted reports of this van in the villages of Thornby, Sibbertoft, Kilsby, Long Buckby, Naseby and Arthingworth, all in one day. Farmers saw and contained the vehicle and its two occupants in Naseby, and called the police. The van was seized for being suspected used in crime, but there was insufficient evidence to arrest the occupants, whose details were confirmed. It has been returned to its owners and continues to attract our attention, and/or that of colleagues in Warwickshire.
  • Work continues with automatic number plate recognition enquiries and the checking of many vehicles using the county’s country roads at night-time. This has led to the removal of a number of unconnected vehicles for being uninsured or untaxed (given the ability of the mobile ANPR system to detect such vehicles).
It is vital that local residents in rural areas, remain vigilant particularly those who live on or close to farmland where livestock are grazing. If you can do anything via Facebook, village newsletters or other means to raise awareness then I would urge you to do so. If you would like any further information from me then I would be more than happy to liaise with the Police on your behalf.
Kind regards,
Adam Brown
County Councillor for Bugbrooke Division

Tel: 07714 255 077