Recognising that our countryside has often been seen by criminals as a soft touch, Elderslie Estates has been instrumental in setting up a new safety scheme, the Renfrewshire Rural Watch (RRW).
Supported by Police Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates and the Scottish Countryside Alliance, Renfrewshire Rural Watch is designed to make rural Renfrewshire secure against a range of illegal activity such as:
• The theft of machinery, equipment, livestock and metal,
• Wildlife crimes for example illegal poaching.
• Environmental crimes such as fly tipping.
The aims of Renfrewshire Rural Watch are to:
1) Raise awareness of rural crimes across Renfrewshire.
2) Establish a means of communication for information sharing within the rural community.
3) Improve communication between the rural community and Police Scotland.
4) Increase the reporting of crimes and suspicious activity within rural Renfrewshire to the police.
5) Improve security awareness for rural farms, homes and businesses.
6) To deter criminals from targeting rural Renfrewshire.
In practice the initiative encourages rural businesses and residents to join the group, and in turn then collaboratively address the rural crime issues they face. Members are encouraged to report any suspicious activity by calling 101.
RRW signs and placards are currently available free to members to advertise their involvement in the rural watch group and provide phone numbers for anyone seeing anything suspicious. The scheme provides support and information to raise awareness of crime prevention measures through email, Facebook and crime prevention events.
Police Scotland also provide members with monthly email alerts containing crime trends and areas being targeted. They have introduced four rural policing officers to Renfrewshire, with these officers patrolling in the villages, farms and rural road network across Renfrewshire.
Elderslie Estates support extends to providing office support and IT backup, contributing to funds for signage, and also directly paying for the provision of office staff for one day a week.
Renfrewshire Rural Watch now has a Facebook page as well as its website and continues to grow in popularity and significance regarding rural crime in Renfrewshire. Future plans include educational seminars to further educate the rural sector to the perils and tools they should consider regarding rural based crime and legislation.
Joining is simple via the ‘Join’ button on the website www.renfrewshireruralwatch.co.uk