The new chairman of the Cambridgeshire branch of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has welcomed an early approach from Cambs police to work together to tackle rural crime.
Richard Pemberton, who farms at Trumpington, said: “We were invited by the Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hopkins to a joint meeting with the National Farmers’ Union and this gave us the opportunity to exchange facts, views and priorities, which proved especially useful.
“The force has a proactive attitude to policing in the countryside. Rural crime is seen as a priority and has been brought up the agenda, which is very encouraging when police budgets are under extreme pressure.
“We also intend to maintain and extend the good relationship we have built up with Bedfordshire police over the years. Criminals have learned how easy it is to escape across county boundaries and this has led them to operate on the borders. Joint policing is needed in all such vulnerable areas.”
There is much work ahead for the new chairman with a wide variety of countryside and farming matters to deal with. Some of the responsibilities will involve working to achieve more affordable housing and supporting economic growth by encouraging diversification to create local jobs and promoting local foods and services. To further help the rural economy he will be lobbying for better provision of broadband to aid farmers and businesses in the countryside and working with local authorities on green energy initiatives.
Rights of way, countryside access and fly tipping responsibilities are other areas of high priority.
Mr Pemberton has been a member of the county’s CLA committee for five years. Looking ahead he says: “Representing the owners and managers of land and rural businesses of all types, I have a very wide remit. There are so many demands on the countryside that have to be tackled and they are coming from all directions. Nonetheless I am very much looking forward to the challenge.”