A NEW strategy to tackle wildlife and rural crime in Wales will be launched on Thursday. 

The Welsh-made plan – a national first – will see the country's government and four police forces come together on issues such as machinery theft and the destruction of green spaces. 

The policy aims to reduce rural crime, which saw theft alone costing £1.3 million in 2021, and has been "tailored to Wales’ needs", delivered through six priority groups. It will be launched at the Royal Welsh Showground. 

READ MORE: Police ramp up patrols in woodlands of South Wales

In 2021, Rob Taylor was appointed Wales’ rural and wildlife crime coordinator, the first role of its kind in the UK, and he will lead on facilitating the strategy.

He said: “Rural and wildlife crime can have a devastating impact, affecting rural communities, farmers, wildlife as well as habitats and our heritage.

“The launch of this first ever made-in-Wales strategy to integrate rural and wildlife crime, will be vital in bringing Welsh Government, police forces and partners together alongside my role as coordinator to tackle such offences.”

The objectives of the strategy are:

  • Working in partnership to reduce crime and protect rural communities and wildlife;
  • Develop effective networks to share ideas, best practice, and resources;
  • Improve the knowledge and skills needed to support victims affected by crime in rural areas especially those most vulnerable;
  • Provide training and opportunities to develop skills in a broad range of wildlife and rural crime issues, maximising use of partner agencies;
  • Improve data collection and information sharing among partners and enforcement agencies;
  • Use technology and innovation to protect rural communities and wildlife.

Rob added: “The strategy has clear aims including supporting mental health in our rural communities and addressing domestic abuse.

“We will follow the 4P plan to achieve success – prepare, prevent, pursue and protect.

Forestry Journal: Rural Affairs Minister Lesley GriffithsRural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths

"This means preparing for when such crimes might occur, preventing and deterring people from engaging in these offences, relentlessly pursue offenders and protect rural communities and wildlife from the impact of crime.”

Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “The launch of this strategy is a big step forward in tackling rural and wildlife crime in Wales. A key theme of this is partnership working and only by working together towards our common goal can we succeed."

Dyfed-Powys Police chief constable, Dr Richard Lewis, said: “This significant and holistic strategy aims to improve rural policing across Wales as well as address the unique challenges faced within our rural communities."