Bay News Editor and reporter for NZME.

Bay rural crime targeted

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Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty provincial president Rick Powdrell and Te Puke Police Sergeant Mark Holmes want to urge people to report every crime and suspicious activity.  Photo/File.
Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty provincial president Rick Powdrell and Te Puke Police Sergeant Mark Holmes want to urge people to report every crime and suspicious activity. Photo/File.

Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty provincial president Rick Powdrell is encouraging rural people to take a stand against crime in their communities.

Last month, he spearheaded a national campaign with police to stamp out rural crime.

The project, which was supported by FMG Insurance, could be rolled out across the country in a bid to reduce crime rates and raise awareness.

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Mr Powdrell said about 60 people attended the forum and provided some great feedback. "We had some really good panel discussions that got people thinking."

The initiative was launched off the back of a three-day rural police prevention conference at Porirua's Police College in 2015.

It involved 50 rural police officers of varying ranks.

An internal committee of eight was established to help with a strategy review.

A police and rural stakeholders partnership group was also established that Mr Powdrell would chair.

The latest project planned to use a collaborative approach.

A rural crime prevention advice guide had been printed for farmers about what measures they could take to protect themselves, he said.

"Over the years we have had stock rustlers, cannabis growers had armed people on the property that we have confronted and come face to face with poachers. So I suppose when you encounter these serious aspects of rural crime, it certainly switches you on to the issues and how you might deal with it.

"I think rural people have to take a stand."

He said it was important rural communities did everything they could to help themselves and build relationships with police.

Mr Powdrell would travel to Wellington later this month to report and have a debrief with police in Wellington.

I think rural people have to take a stand.
Federated Farners' Rick Powdrell

Meanwhile, Mr Powdrell planned to hold a rural crime session at the Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty annual general meeting in July.

Statistics from FMG showed the Bay of Plenty region was the third highest region for claims at 12 per cent - behind Waikato and Northland - in 2014.

It paid out more than $21 million nationally on burglary and theft claims while Federated Farmers survey revealed only 39 per cent of rural crime was reported.

Te Puke police said two thirds of burglaries in the area were committed in rural areas and it had combined forces with Papamoa police in August to provide 24-hour coverage.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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