A POLICE force has appointed the country’s first full-time rural liaison officer who plans to help farmers cut down on countryside crime.

PC Kevin Hall, 36, has been appointed to the role with Durham Constabulary.

He plans to communicate with farmers and rural communities in County Durham and to be a focal point for their concerns about crime.

He said: “About 80 per cent of the force area is rural and it incorporates many farms.

“We know there is a perception among farmers that we don’t devote the same amount of resources to them that we do to urban areas.

“Some believe that as a result of the police resources in urban areas, thieves have been pushed out into the countryside where they can operate knowing there will be less of a police presence.”

PC Hall wants to develop Farmwatch schemes to help to reduce rural crime. There are seven Farmwatch schemes in the Durham police force area with 1,600 members.

He will also meet farmers on a quarterly basis along with Durham’s Chief Constable Mike Barton to discuss any concerns.