THE Powys Rural Crime Team has gained a member, boosting its ability to investigate incidents, support communities and educate people about rural issues.

A team of officers focusing on rural crime has been expanded, emphasising Dyfed-Powys Police’s commitment to farming and isolated communities.

PCSO Miranda Whateley joins PC Charlie Jones and PCSO Gary Gwilt on the Powys team, which was launched in September 2018 as a result of the force’s rural crime strategy.

PCSO Whateley, who has 12 years of experience with Dyfed-Powys Police, said: “I’m really pleased to join the rural crime team in Powys and to build on the good work they have carried out.

“I enjoy being out and about in the community, and I think it is really important that people living in rural areas have a familiar face to deal with their unique issues and challenges”.

“The team has built a fantastic level of trust with farmers, which is so important as farming can be a very lonely occupation, with many people feeling isolated and not knowing where to turn for help.

“Once the current restrictions ease, I’m looking forward to meeting local farmers at our many Powys livestock markets to introduce myself

“I also hope to help communicate the importance of looking after our beautiful countryside in Powys to people visiting the area.”

Since commencement, the team has covered the whole of Powys, from Llanymynech to Ystradgynlais, dealing with issues ranging from sheep worrying and livestock thefts, to offering crime prevention advice and support.

To assist the team in getting around rural Powys, they have been provided with two 4×4 Ford Ranger trucks, which will allow them to get off the beaten track.

PC Charlie Jones said: “Powys is the largest county in Wales covering an area of around 2000 square miles, which consists of the old three counties of Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire and Breconshire.

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“Covering such a huge area presents its challenges, Powys is such a diverse division, with differing needs and demands from north to south, however, this is what we enjoy about our role.

“We often work jointly and operate as an extension of our Powys Neighbourhood Policing Teams, who do a fantastic job in supporting rural areas.

“However, we specifically focus on farms, livestock, wildlife, animal welfare, common land, waterways and forestry areas.”

The rural crime team also works closely with partner agencies including the National Farmers’ Union, the Farmer’s Union of Wales, Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Government.

The Powys Rural Team was launched in September 2018, as a direct result of the force’s rural crime strategy which committed to identifying named points of contact for rural crime and farming matters, including developing the specialist rural skills and knowledge of its officers.

Newly appointed Chief Inspector for North Powys Jacqui Lovatt said: “The expansion of our Rural Crime Team here in Powys shows our commitment to supporting rural communities and tackling crime in isolated areas.

“Miranda is well known across the area, and brings skills as a cyber-crime champion and hate crime officer, and will be a welcome addition to the team.

“There has also been a reluctance to report rural crimes in the past, due to a feeling that police wouldn’t put the time into investigating them fully.

We are committed to proving that rural crime is a priority for the force, and have seen some fantastic work carried out since the team was put in place.”

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