Police have revealed more information on plans to crack down on rural crime.

At a meeting of the Tees Rural Crime Forum, Chief Inspector Jon Hagen of Cleveland's Neighbourhood Policing Team, described how police will focus on the issue.

Ch Insp Hagen, who is the force's lead officer on rural crime, introduced PC Lee Mapplebeck as rural crime co-ordinator, and said that although the changes would take some time, police would fast-track their efforts.

In the meantime, a policy strategy will be submitted to the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable.

He announced the formation of a Tactical Rural Crime Team involving the Special Constabulary, aided by Neighbourhood Policing Teams. This would also include community volunteers, who already provide much information.

The Special Constables would be recruited from the community to be part of this Tactical Team, with ten officers north of the River Tees and ten south, supplemented by the team of rural volunteers under Karel Simpson. Five Specials are currently undergoing training and a further 20-plus are going through the selection process, following a recruitment drive. The first batch would probably be available in August/September.

Ch Insp Hagen said that these officers would be proactive and given a dedicated role. There will be one dedicated police officer per sector, trained up in wildlife crime. Training will take place in conjunction with Northumbria Police, who are the lead force in the area, and officers in Scotland. He conceded that a lot of officers were not aware of their powers in relation to subjects such as poaching, so the dedicated officers will undergo a training package which will cover basic rural offences.

He said that use would be made of Community Protection Notices, which are intended to deal with unreasonable, ongoing problems or nuisances which negatively affect the community’s quality of life by targeting the person responsible. Breach of any requirement in the notice, without reasonable excuse, would be a criminal offence, subject to a fixed penalty notice with a penalty of £100 or prosecution. Notices issued apply across the region to deal with travelling criminals and offenders. Local authorities can assist by issuing such notices so that police can arrest the offenders breaching the order.

Training will also be given to the police control room staff so that they will have a greater understanding and importance of rural calls for assistance. He said that the use of the What Three Words app would greatly assist in determining the location of any incident given the isolated area of many farms.

Ch Insp Hagen referred to Operation Hawkeye, which see intelligence shared on rural criminals in Northumberland, Cumbria, Durham, Cleveland and Scotland. PC Mapplebeck will co-ordinate the information received so as to use it in Cleveland.

James Ruddock, the Special Constables and volunteers co-ordinator in Cleveland, said that he has been given the job of recruiting people who want to deal with rural crime and want to make a difference in the community. He said that he is willing to go to any meeting to tell people what is wanted and what is expected.