HC Deb 27 October 1999 vol 336 c879W
Mrs. Shephard

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what support his Department provides to farm and country watch schemes; how many such schemes are currently in place; and if he will make a statement. [95778]

Mr. Charles Clarke

The Government recognise that people in rural communities have different policing needs from those who live in urban areas, although they suffer from most of the same sorts of crime as urban areas. Rural communities can also suffer the twin problem of the lack of an obvious police presence and longer response times to emergency calls.

That is why the partnership approach between the police and the local community is the most effective means of tackling crime in rural areas. We encourage farm and country watch schemes as means by which members of the public can help themselves and the police to engage in a positive way in the fight against crime.

As farm and country watch schemes are run in conjunction with local police forces, the Home Office does not keep records of such schemes.