Countryside dwellers are living in fear of crime as their faith in rural policing to deal with blights such as fly-tipping shrinks, a new report has found.
Just over a quarter – 27 per cent – of people living in the country have confidence in their local police force to keep them safe, according to the National Rural Crime Survey, 11 per cent lower than at the last survey in 2015.
Fly-tipping, speeding and the financial burden of keeping property secure all feature prominently in a list of concerns described by the authors as “stark and worrying”.
The report, titled Living on the Edge, also found a growing number of communities are feeling “frustrated at the way crime, deprivation and vulnerability is hidden by a picture postcard view of the countryside”.
The National Rural Crime Network, which commissioned the survey, said crime and the fear of crime was most experienced by young people, families and farmers.
More than two-thirds – 69 per cent – of farmers and rural-specific business owners have been a victim of crime over the past 12 months, it found.
Some of the more common concerns were issues such as fly-tipping and speeding, where the police have a shared responsibility along with local authorities and other agencies.