Date24 May 2023
The evening of Friday, May 19 saw farmers and their families from across North-West Wales come together at the Celtic Royal Hotel in Caernarfon for an event looking at ways our rural communities can better protect themselves from crime, as well as crucial new measures being undertaken by North Wales Police to combat criminal activity across the region. The Cyber Safety and Crime Prevention event was sponsored by the charity for farmers and their families, Tir Dewi; North Wales Police; the North Wales Police and Community Trust; and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales.
The evening was further supported by farming unions, the NFU and FUW, and opened with a welcome fromLllinos Angharad Owen, Communications and Fundraising Manager for North Wales, Tir Dewi. Llinos outlined the purpose of the event and the support that Tir Dewi gives to the farming community. Set up in 2015, Tir Dewi has actively helped hundreds of farmers and their families who were, in one way or another, struggling to cope, and today, farmers in need throughout Wales can access the services of the organisation.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin gave a keynote address, emphasising the importance of North Wales’ rural communities to him personally, the unique place they occupy in the culture and heritage of North Wales, and how crucial it is that communities, police and third sector partners work together to combat crime.
PC Dewi Owen of North Wales Police’s Cyber Crime Team emphasised the important of farmers being vigilant to online and cyber crime, given the increasingly digital nature of managing a business – even in farming. He gave examples of various scams used by criminals, including those involving fake emails from supposed suppliers asking farmers to pay into a new account. He also said how easy it is to harvest information from social media about farmers’ personal details that can later be used to defraud them. PC Owen also highlighted how easy it can be for a farmer to post images of a new tractor or other type of machinery on social media that can be seen by criminals who might then try and steal the equipment.
PCSO Iwan Owen of North Wales Police’s Rural Crime Team followed by detailing new measures that the Force is deploying to protect agricultural communities. PCSO Owen was recently named Rural Crime PCSO of the year at the Wales Wildlife & Rural Crime Conference for his “determination to provide quality of service to the rural community” and he gave examples of investigations that had recently take place in the Force to catch thieves operating in North Wales. PCSO Owen also shared the news of North Wales Police’s new ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ initiative to try to combat burglary, theft and other similar crimes where offenders profit from taking items from others. Rural communities are a key part of this campaign, which will be using ‘Smart Water’ DNA marking to protect farm equipment. The campaign is in its early stages and farms across North Wales will soon begin benefiting from the technology and support on offer.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin, commented: “I was delighted to co-host this event and I am certain all those who attended found it very worthwhile. I would also like to thank Tir Dewi, and the Cyber Crime and Rural Crime Teams at North Wales Police for their contributions.
“The more police, farming unions, the agricultural community, and residents of rural areas work together to stop rural and wildlife crime, the more effective we will be, and the sooner we can help put an end to these types of offences.
“I am deeply committed to our rural communities across North Wales. They are vital for our economy, for our wellbeing, and for our unique culture – both its heritage and its future. Events like this help to spread awareness and understanding. They enable us to spot the potential of crime, to know where to turn to for support and what to do when crime happens.”
“The evening was a great success and the feedback from farmers and both union Presidents the NFU and the FUW was very positive. Working in partnership with North Wales Police Rural Crime Team will benefit farmers in North Wales” said Llinos Angharad Owen of Tir Dewi.
The event and the messages behind it were carried live on S4C News on the evening of the event, where both PCSO Owen and Llinos Owen spoke to media about the important of raising awareness of crime in rural communities.
To find guidance to help farmers improve the security and resilience of their business against cyber threats visit: Cyber security guidance for farmers - NCSC.GOV.UK