POLICE are set to spend £1.5million a year combating rural crime in areas such as the Vale.
Bill Longmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, said the force will be investing the sum annually, up until 2016, to try and reduce and bring to justice criminals who persistently commit offences in low population areas.
The announcement was made at the Rural Crime Conference, hosted by Major Patrick Darling, High Sheriff of Herefordshire, at his Caradoc Farm country estate.
Mr Longmore said: “Since being elected I have been concerned that not enough attention has been paid to rural crime.
“For the first time tackling rural crime is one of our priorities and I am pleased that we have been able to make this money available to be used in West Mercia and Warwickshire.”
Many items were discussed at the conference, including the issues faced in rural areas, anti-social behaviour and what work can be done to prevent these.
The investment will come as a boost to residents in South Worcestershire, who saw burglary figures increase in April to 54 break-ins compared to the monthly average of 42 last year.
Ch Cons David Shaw said: “We are making excellent progress with how we work in partnership with local residents, farmers and the rural business community.
“However, we are not complacent and we can do more. The conference has given us the opportunity to further develop our response to rural crime and we are confident about the future.”
Safer Neighbourhood Teams were also on hand to offer advice on crime prevention methods and information on what can be done to increase awareness of this.