Police start text messaging scheme to fight rural crime

January 30 2017

AVON and Somerset police have launched a new text messaging service to help prevent and detect rural crime.

AVON and Somerset police have launched a new text messaging service to help prevent and detect rural crime.

Anyone with information about suspected crime in their area can send a message directly to the force’s rural crime team by dialling 81819.

The details will then be assessed and any action taken.

The system is being trialled for three months after many people involved in the police’s Farm Watch scheme said they wanted to be able to pass on information quickly to those tackling crime in the countryside.

Inspector Joanna Mines said rural crime officers wanted to hear about any suspicious or potentially criminal activity. 

It could involve people being seen behaving suspiciously, potentially stolen goods or livestock being offered for sale to the public or at markets or sightings of stolen vehicles.

Inspector Mines said: “We have had real success using a text number to facilitate reporting of drink drivers in the past and we hope this will prove as effective.”

Avon and Somerset police and crime commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, said: “Rural crime affects the livelihoods of farmers, smallholders and rural businesses and presents some real challenges for the wider rural areas.”  

Messages sent to the new number won’t be monitored around the clock, only when team members are on duty, so anything that requires an immediate response should be reported via the 999 system.