The Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservative government of “neglecting” rural communities as new data reveals that only five police officers and staff are dedicated to rural crime teams across Dyfed-Powys.

Across the whole of England and Wales, only 258 police officers and staff are dedicated to rural crime teams, just 0.01% of the overall workforce. 

The Liberal Democrats have called for Police and Crime Commissioners to be scrapped so the savings can be invested in frontline policing, including ensuring that every police force has a properly resourced rural crime team. It is estimated the move would save £150 million every four years.

Not a single police force had more than 1% of its officers and staff deployed to rural crime teams. Nine police forces admitted to having no specific rural crime team in place - including Norfolk, West Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

A report by the Countryside Alliance in 2023 found that some 92% of those surveyed from across Wales, said that rural crime was a "significant" issue in their community.

The survey which was responded to by residents living in Wales also found that 56% did not think the police take rural crime seriously.

NFU Mutual’s 2023 Rural Crime Report revealed that in 2022, the cost of rural crime across the UK rose by 22%, to an estimated total of £49.5 million.

The Liberal Democrats are arguing that every force should have a specialist coordinator in their rural crime team, in line with recommendations from The National Rural Crime Network.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe David Chadwick said: “Yet again, we are seeing the shocking neglect of our rural communities from the Conservative Government.

“Local communities are worried about the impacts of rural crime, and to have such a small number of officers dedicated to tackling this serious issue is shocking. No wonder so many cases are going unsolved. “Right across the country, Police and Crime Commissioners have failed to tackle rural crime. The role needs to be abolished so that resources can go into what really matters - improving frontline policing, including properly staffed rural crime teams.”