Police and Crime Commissioner rolls out property marking technology to protect farmers from crime

Published on: Monday, 18th September 2023
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Angelique Foster, Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner, is funding the expansion of a high-tech property marking scheme to better protect farmers from thieves.

As part of her Police and Crime Plan priority to get tough on rural crime, the Commissioner is investing £15k in an initiative that gives farmers an opportunity to have their vehicles, machinery and equipment securely marked with the industry standard CESAR Security Systems and ‘Datatag' products to help deter thieves.

The scheme is already active in North East Derbyshire, Bolsover and South Derbyshire.  This new investment will enable the Commissioner to roll out the scheme across the whole of Derbyshire to further protect farmers and their livelihoods from rural criminals.

There are a number of different types of markings used to keep property secure.  These include visible identification labels, microdots, forensic DNA markers and electronic transponders which are fitted in hidden locations on the protected vehicle or property. Each element provides an identification unique to each machine. This means the police can quickly and easily confirm ownership.

Datatag tamper resistant labels warn potential thieves that the property has been permanently marked to deter their activities in the first place.  Even if some of the other identification markers are removed by the thief it's almost impossible to remove them all.  This means offenders caught in possession of Datatagged property face certain conviction.

The Commissioner pledged to support rural communities and help to reduce crime, trespass and theft in her Police and Crime Plan. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster said: "I am keen to fund a resource that not only protects farmers from theft and quickly reunites them with their stolen property but also helps bring more offenders before the courts.

"I know from my meetings with farmers how disruptive and costly these crimes are on their livelihoods. They deserve support and should have confidence that their local force is working harder than ever to prevent them.

"Since my election, rural crime has been a key focus. I have increased the capabilities and resilience of our Rural Crime Team and have invested in new roles, training and technology to ensure the force is well-equipped and prepared to meet the challenges posed by today's rural criminals. This is what our rural communities want.

"My commitment to roll out this initiative across Derbyshire is an expansion of this work. I take rural crime very seriously and will continue to give the Chief Constable and her officers the resources they need to deliver a high-quality, consistent police service to all rural residents and businesses."

The Commissioner's investment will see the scheme extended to the remaining six local authority areas in Derbyshire and a continuation of funding in the three areas already piloting the project.

The CESAR System and Datatag products are recognised as offering one of the UK's leading anti-theft systems.

PC Emerson Buckingham from the Rural Crime Team said: "We have already tagged £2.1m worth of items in the last couple of years in NE and Bolsover Council areas.  None of these items have been the subject of theft.  This is a great deterrent to thieves and gives owners of valuable plant and equipment confidence that their property is safe."

Dave Luscombe of Datatag, technology partner to the CESAR Scheme, added: "The results that we have achieved working with Derbyshire Police, North East Derbyshire and Bolsover councils has proved beyond doubt that forensic marking of property works. I am really excited about working with PC Buckingham and the Rural Crime Team to take the powerful CESAR deterrent county-wide."

The RCT has already seen CCTV evidence of an offender only stealing unmarked horse trailers from an equestrian centre, leaving Datatag protected vehicles behind.

Officers have already received training to identify and scan vehicles to detect the Datatag markers on a vehicle or other equipment. This ensures stolen property can be identified and returned to the rightful owner at the earliest opportunity.

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