Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones and Chief Constable Scott Chilton say they are strengthening their efforts to combat criminal activity in rural Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

A primary focus of their strategy is ambitious investment in technology and resources designed to deter criminals.

Commissioner Jones has already allocated £25,000 from her Emerging Needs Fund towards the installation of redeployable Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

These devices are currently in use in multiple crime hotspots around the region, and their relocatability allows for flexible response to changing crime patterns. The force's Rural Crime Survey reportedly revealed that local communities overwhelmingly view the camera deployment as a crucial deterrent.

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In further efforts to curtail illegal activity in the region, Commissioner Jones has approved a significant £1million investment for intelligence accumulation, which will aid in the identification of recurring offenders. This investment is part of her 2024-25 budget allocation.

Drones have also been added to their security arsenal due to their utility in surveying large rural landscapes. The remote-control aircraft gather intelligence, monitor the presence of suspicious vehicles, and aid in the recovery of stolen property.

To ensure comprehensive coverage, the Constabulary's Country Watch teams, Priority Crime teams, and Roads Policing Units are consistently working together. Their joint operations focus on identifying criminals entering Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to commit serious infractions, particularly on the rural road networks.

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PCC Donna Jones said: "Agricultural machinery and vehicle theft, hare coursing and poaching, theft of livestock, and fly-tipping are just some of the crimes found to have devastating consequences for those who reside, and own businesses, in the countryside.

"This investment to strengthen our intelligence teams, and the increase in ANPR, will provide further support in preventing and reducing rural crime, shutting down county drug lines, tracing vulnerable missing people and ultimately protecting and reassuring our communities."

Chief Constable Scott Chilton said: "As a force, with large rural areas combined with busy urban towns and cities, it’s crucial that we are using all of the tools at our disposal to make our communities a hostile environment for criminals.

"Alongside putting more officers and staff in the places where they can be most effective, we also need to have the right information and technology to enable us to detect, deter and disrupt criminality."