In a recent report released by the NFU Mutual, there is an increase in agricultural crime, with rates being at their highest level in over five years, with crime not being seen on this level since 2013. This crime spike has mainly been focused on the theft of agricultural machinery, including 4x4s, quad bikes and other agricultural specific vehicles. It seems that this is being fuelled by the largescale global demand for agricultural equipment, and due to the UK’s relative population sparsity and its large farmsteads, organised criminal gangs are being attracted to UK farmers and their machinery.
Farms are traditionally considered to be low-risk targets for criminals. The large size of the farmstead combined with the traditional lack of security and the absence of people around the area make it easy for criminals to operate. Equally, the distance between farms and official law enforcement often gives criminals more than enough time to escape without detection, and this time delay makes it difficult for police to find any trails or leads to follow.
Many farms across the UK house machinery which is worth tens of thousands of pounds, which makes them an ideal target for criminals. The theft of this machinery is devastating to farmers – not only due to the monetary value of the equipment itself, but it also has a major impact on the day to day working of the farm. This equipment is needed to ensure the normal day to day running of the farm, and due to the tight turnaround times farmers experience with planting and harvesting crops, any time delays due to stolen equipment may have an impact on the farmstead for the whole year.
What areas are the most affected?
As with most crimes, the effects are not evenly dispersed around the country. Despite the overall increase in agricultural crime, all of Scotland, along with the North West of England, have experienced an overall decrease in rural crime. However, the increase in rural crime for the rest of the UK has been significant; the Midlands, Wales and the South East of England have experienced a staggering increase of 30%.
This represents a new era of agricultural crime, with the organisation of criminal gangs being on par with that of their urban counterparts. There is a huge amount of planning that must go into stealing agricultural machinery, including observation of the farmstead and agricultural workers, including their shift times, the logistics of transporting the machinery, and often advanced planning of how, where and who to sell the machinery to.
What are farmers doing to protect their machinery?
In response to this spike in agricultural crime, agricultural managers and farm jobs have had to adapt their security strategies. Many farms are now using a plethora of modern security systems to deter, detect and prevent crime from occurring, often through the combined use of motion sensors, floodlights, and CCTV which has been upgraded to use night vision and thermal imaging technology.
What else can be done?
Farmers are also reacting to this increased crime by turning to farming equipment finance schemes. If farmers actively reduce the amount of expensive farming equipment they have on sight at any one time then there will be less motivation for criminal gangs to target that specific farm. Equally, if a security breach does occur, there will be less machinery stolen overall.
Equipment finance schemes also allow farmers to use up to date equipment, which is likely to help them improve their productivity and efficiency – something that everyone from the farm manager to the employees undertaking produce jobs will enjoy.
The constant rotation of machinery will also make it more difficult for criminals to plan to steal your equipment; since the criminals will have no idea what will be on site on the night they choose to strike, they are not able to make logistical plans or confirm sales of the equipment beforehand. This makes the whole operation significantly more difficult for specialist gangs, making them significantly less likely to target your farm.
What does this mean for agricultural jobs?
An increase in crime often brings about an increase in security-related jobs to help combat this, and this is true within agricultural recruitment too. There has been an upsurge in recent years of farming jobs related to site security, and along with this, there is the additional need for people to monitor the equipment, along with specialists for the electronic surveillance equipment.
Equally, as we have explained the benefits of agricultural financing in preventing this crime, the numbers of agricultural finance jobs are expected to rise if this increasing trend in crime continues. The vast majority of farming finance can be easily procured by any farmer who has a stable business, but it is likely that agricultural jobs and the role of farm management jobs will shift to accommodate this new trend.
Furthermore, there has been a commensurate increase in the number of farming security specialist jobs. Agricultural recruitment has expanded over recent years to accommodate for and adapt to this rise in crime, with security specialists, technology experts, and farm machinery strategists all becoming increasingly important roles to consider filling and recruiting for when expanding your farmstead or remodelling your overall farming business.
At Agricultural Recruitment Specialists, we pride ourselves on being the first choice for both candidates and clients looking for recruitment solutions in the world of agriculture. We partner countless numbers of employees and employers. We treat each client and candidate individually, taking the time to get to know their specific needs, allowing us to take a tailored and bespoke approach, and thus ensuring we get the best possible results for all parties involved. As well as agricultural and farming jobs, we also cover a number of related fields, including food jobs, horticultural jobs, equine jobs, and veterinary jobs.
To find out the full list of areas we cover, or to get our assistance for your recruitment needs, please contact us at https://www.agrirs.co.uk/contact-us. Alternatively you may visit our website here: www.agriRS.co.uk