Avon and Somerset Police are using drone technology to tackle the increasing problem of rural crime. From theft of agricultural vehicles and equipment to illegal hunting and poaching, law enforcement is stepping up efforts to protect rural communities from these unlawful activities.

The specialized Rural Affairs Unit, which focuses on addressing rural crime concerns, has been proactive in implementing security measures. Their goals include marking trailers and equipment for identification purposes, as well as tracking stolen machinery to discourage criminals and facilitate their capture. The introduction of drones takes their fight against rural crime to new heights.

Leading this adoption of cutting-edge technology is Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford. Recognizing the link between rural crimes and organized criminal enterprises, Shelford understands the need to explore new ways to prevent and detect these crimes.

One of the main advantages of drones is their ability to assist in searching for missing persons. Equipped with advanced surveillance capabilities, these unmanned aerial vehicles can navigate hazardous terrains and help locate individuals in distress. This additional dimension to search and rescue operations will positively impact community safety.

Rural crime not only causes financial losses but also leaves lasting psychological trauma on victims and their families. A recent report by NFU Mutual reveals that the financial cost of rural crime in the UK reached £49.5 million in 2022. This alarming figure emphasizes the urgency to address these criminal activities and protect the livelihoods of farmers and landowners.

Farmers and landowners have welcomed the introduction of drones. The drones’ ability to deter criminals and reduce farm-related crime has garnered widespread support within the rural community. By providing an extra layer of security and surveillance, drones offer reassurance to those affected by rural crimes.

Certified Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operator PC Stefan Edwards will play a key role in successfully implementing drone technology. His expertise and training will ensure drones are efficiently used to detect and prevent criminal activities. With Organized Crime Groups increasingly involved in rural crimes, the integration of drone technology is a significant step in disrupting their operations.

This week, Avon and Somerset are collaborating with communities across the country for National Rural Crime Action Week. This initiative aims to raise awareness about rural crime and foster collective efforts to combat it. The introduction of drones is a timely and impactful response to this ongoing issue, demonstrating the police force’s unwavering commitment to protecting rural areas.

The Rural Affairs Unit not only provides advice on crime prevention but also supports farmers and landowners through crime reduction visits. These visits offer valuable guidance on securing properties and protecting against potential threats. By incorporating drones into these visits, law enforcement can enhance their ability to track stolen machinery and combat illegal activities like hare coursing and poaching.

As drone technology continues to evolve, its potential to revolutionize law enforcement strategies becomes increasingly evident. Avon and Somerset Police’s use of drones to combat rural crimes is a significant milestone in the fight against organized crime and the protection of rural communities. With drones as an additional aerial surveillance tool, criminals will face increased scrutiny and deterrence, making our rural areas safer for everyone.

In a world where criminals are becoming more sophisticated, law enforcement must adapt and embrace innovative technologies. The introduction of drones to combat rural crimes is a tangible example of this adaptability. As Avon and Somerset Police lead the way, other regions across the country may soon follow, ensuring that rural communities can enjoy the peace and security they deserve.