George Hollingbery MP meets with Chief Inspector Steve Baxter
Extra police resources to tackle rural crime in the Meon Valley have been welcomed by the local MP George Hollingbery.
The Conservative met recently with local commander Chief inspector Steve Baxter to discuss the issue and what can be done.
Previously George has expressed his concerns about a rise in rural crime with many farmers in the Meon Valley forced to install CCTV as thefts of hay and heating oil, in particular, increase.
During the meeting, Chief Inspector Baxter told George that the increase in thefts had prompted additional uniform and covert patrols at relevant times, which saw a drop in offences.
Also five extra officers have been moved into Bishop's Waltham police station to improve response times to incidents in the rural areas around the town.
Other measures include allocating a sergeant to a rural country watch role to look after the wider rural community on the basis of the successful safer neighbourhood team (SNT) principles working in towns.
Patrols were also increased in the Alresford area to deal with a rise in non-dwelling burglaries and a rural review of policing in Hampshire is taking place to improve engagement and partnership working with the rural community.
"These new resources and initiatives are great news for many in the Meon Valley who are concerned about the recent rise in rural crime," said George.
"There is no doubt in my mind that Hampshire police is taking the issue seriously and want to tackle the problem even though there is pressure on police budgets.
"Clearly more officers on patrol and better co-operation between residents, local organisations and the police is the best way to beat the burglars and thieves.
"I'm also delighted that the response seems to be looking to the long term with a review of rural policing, in addition to the extra officers."
Chief Inspector Baxter added "I am keen to ensure that the rural community does not feel ostracised and I will continue to deploy as much policing presence there as is possible. Given the geographical challenges, I want to ensure that we can work with residents and businesses to deter criminals in the first place but then also be able to respond appropriately where necessary."