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Off-road vehicles to provide enhanced rural policing

REMOTE and off road areas across Dyfed-Powys are now accessible to rural crime officers thanks to a fleet of new 4×4 vehicles.

The police force’s four rural crime teams have each been allocated a Ford Ranger, which will allow them to carry out their specialist work more efficiently.

The vehicles are better suited to farm tracks and lanes than traditional police cars, and have 4×4 capability, which means the teams can patrol vulnerable sites that were previously only accessible on foot.

Superintendent Robyn Mason, Dyfed-Powys Police lead for rural crime, said: “At the end of 2017 we launched the Dyfed-Powys Police Rural Crime Plan, which promised dedicated resources to protect our remote and rural communities.

“Last year we established the four rural crime teams – one for each division across the force – to focus on rural issues. These vehicles are another investment in the teams to ensure they have the specialist equipment they require.

“Policing such a large and diverse area presents unique challenges, and there are places our teams have been unable to access by car until now. We are optimistic that these new vehicles will allow our officers and staff to provide a more effecting policing service to remote areas.”

Over the past year, the rural crime teams have dealt with 92 reports of quad bike thefts. Often, they find that stolen quads are hidden in remote forestry while criminals establish if they are fitted with tracking devices. They will then abandon them, or move them out of the area.

Not only will the new police vehicles allow police to go off-road in search of stolen quads, but they are kitted with trackers, which will help to trace and track their location in live-time.

Supt Mason said: “Quad bike thefts are a huge issue, and we know all too well the financial impact they can have on the farming community. Having trackers fitted to our vehicles will allow us to find and recover stolen quads more quickly.

“However, the equipment can only be used successfully if the stolen quad is equipped with a tracker, so we urge people to ensure they fit tracking devices.”

With the summer months approaching, the rural crime teams are anticipating an increase in reports of illegal off-road bikers. Last year, there were complaints of significant damage being caused to farmers’ land when riders took their vehicles off designated paths.

“Off-roaders are known to come into our area in search of thrills, but they can cause substantial damage to private land in the process,” Supt Mason said.

“Previously, we were unable to access these locations in our cars, and by the time officers attended, the individuals might have left the scene. With our new 4×4 capability we will be able to respond more quickly and effectively.”

The vehicles will also be used to patrol areas where illegal raves are suspected to be planned, as well as by roads policing units during severe weather.

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