Rural Crime Debate

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Department: Home Office
Thursday 9th May 2024

(2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Birt Portrait Lord Birt (CB)
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My Lords, I am a member of the APPG on metal theft and we have identified and reported on the enormous and growing scale of metal theft in rural areas, which of course has a massive impact on rural communities. Church roofs are stolen; a kilometre or more of copper cable is extracted from the local comms system, taking out telephone networks; and so on. Such crime is overwhelmingly committed, we heard in evidence, by organised criminal gangs. They are rarely caught and rarely held to account. Does the Minister think the police have the right strategies and tactics for handling organised crime in rural areas?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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Again, the noble Lord makes some very good points. As he will be aware, operational decisions are taken locally, so that is a matter for chief constables in conversation and association with their police and crime commissioners. But plenty of national resources are available, as I have already highlighted.