England

Thames Valley Police pledge to attend every rural crime

"Every rural crime" will be attended by officers, Thames Valley Police has pledged.

The force has said low value theft or damage will now be dealt with in person rather than by phone. It will respond to more serious calls within an hour.

Theft of farm machinery, fly tipping, hare coursing and poaching are among the offences defined as rural crimes.

Police and crime commissioner (PCC) Anthony Stansfield said rural crime had "not been taken seriously" in the past.

"If you live in an isolated community, it's very frightening if not dealt with properly - and that had to stop," he added.

Areas most affected include South Oxfordshire and the Vale, West Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire.

Ch Supt Tim De Meyer said the change in policy reflected "our determination to tackle rural crime".

"Crime in these categories has gone down in recent years. But there is still more to be done," he added.

The force said any incidents needing an urgent response would continue to be dealt with immediately.

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