Our Rural Crime Team have been recognised as the most proactive team in the country in preventing farm machinery and plant theft.
Accepting the Rob Oliver Award, Sergeant Chris Wilkinson said: “I’m immensely proud of the achievements of this team, and their commitment to supporting our rural communities.
“It’s an honour to win this for our efforts in getting essential equipment protected against theft, which we know has a devastating effect on people’s lives and businesses.
“By offering a reduced cost for security marking and registration on the CESAR database, we’ve tagged more than £3 million worth of machinery. This works as a deterrent to theft as well as being instrumental in reuniting owners with stolen machinery.
The rural crime team have also continued to proactively patrol the county day and night, recent successes include returning a generator to its owner within an hour of the theft and uncovering a quarry being used for storing stolen machinery.
Rob Oliver MBE, the namesake of the award, presented the team with the trophy: “What they’ve done here in Derbyshire is a good template for other forces, as we’ve seen them working closely with local councils and the Police and Crime Commissioner to prioritise rural crime issues.
“This award is now in its third year, and it’s in recognition of police forces up and down the country who have specialist rural crime teams running initiatives to combat machinery theft. It’s really heartening to see the enthusiasm and expertise that they bring to the job here in Derbyshire.”
Congratulating the team, Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “I am proud of this national award. The team deserves full credit for their hard work and efforts.
“Our rural communities deserve a first-class response to the issues that threaten their safety and livelihoods. Derbyshire’s Rural Crime Team works hard to listen and understand these unique problems, and takes robust proactive action, alongside partners, to prevent more of these crimes and bring rural criminals to justice.
“Significant progress has been made in the way our force tackles rural crime, with a notable effort to strengthen the team and additional funding from my budget invested in the roll out of new resources and equipment to protect agricultural businesses from theft and reunite victims with their stolen property quickly. These new tools have also been highly valuable for the retrieval of evidence to bring more offenders before the courts.
“Machinery theft costs farmers and agricultural businesses millions of pounds every year. They deserve the full support of the police in preventing these disruptive and costly losses. I am pleased Derbyshire’s Rural Crime Team is recognised as the best in the UK for its proactive work and will continue to push the force for further improvements.”
Superintendent Andy Huddleston, Head of the National Rural Crime Unit, said: “The Rob Oliver award is a significant award because it recognises the outstanding work, in this case by Derbyshire Constabulary, in helping tackle construction and agricultural machinery theft by making Derbyshire a really hostile area for criminals to operate in.
“It's no coincidence that this is the case because the work that the team has put in over the past few years is really showing now and I’m delighted to see the investment from the PCC in the CESAR scheme, which helps us to get machinery back if it’s stolen. It’s great to see this work going on in Derbyshire, and I hope to see other forces follow.”