Dyfed-Powys centre to help tackle 'neglected' rural policing

image source, (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
image captionLast summer, 860 people in the Dyfed-Powys Police area responded to a consultation on rural policing

Dyfed-Powys Police is helping set up a centre of excellence to improve rural policing with its commissioner saying it will lead to people feeling safer.

Christopher Salmon said rural policing developments have been "neglected" compared with urban policing.

The College of Policing, responsible for the training and development of police officers, has given £44,000 towards setting up the project.

It will work with academics to develop and share best practice with police.

Dyfed-Powys Police and the commissioner will collaborate with the Cardiff-based Universities' Police Science Institute (UPSI) and others specialists at Aberystwyth University and University of Wales Trinity Saint David to start a "high-level network to develop new expertise in keeping rural communities safe from crime".

Mr Salmon said: "The work we do with UPSI and others will lead to people in some of our most isolated areas feeling safer.

"What works in policing in rural areas and communities is an issue that has been neglected by researchers, policy makers and practitioners.

'Long overdue'

"Compared with the amount of attention paid to policing urban environments, little attention has been directed to the particular policing needs of people living and working in rural areas.

"This is despite rural communities presenting special challenges to the police, including isolation and limited access to resources."

Last summer, 860 people in the Dyfed-Powys Police area responded to a public consultation on rural policing and which could eventually lead to changes in services.

Prof Martin Innes, of UPSI, based at Cardiff University, said: "Understanding what are the key policing problems and priorities for people living in Dyfed-Powys, and then how they can be most effectively tackled, will be the focus for this new partnership.

"Using leading-edge data analytics and research, we will be looking to identify what works, what doesn't and what's promising in making communities safer."

Kate Williams, deputy director of the Welsh Centre of Crime and Social Justice at Aberystwyth University, said: "Research concerning the impact of and opportunities provided by rurality in the delivery of criminal justice services and in patterns of crime and building of criminological theories is long overdue as are policy initiatives which take account of the needs of rural communities and provision of criminal justice services to them."

The new centre has also received £5,000 from Mr Salmon's office towards the set-up costs.

Its work will feed into the College of Policing's National What Works Centre for Crime Reduction, providing evidence and advice in ways for police to tackle crime.

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