Rural crime and wildlife offences are among the priorities for Hampshire Police

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WILDLIFE and rural areas are being protected by police, a report says.

Simon Hayes, police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, welcomed a survey by World Animal Protection, an organisation campaigning to stop animal cruelty.

He said: ‘One of the priorities in my police and crime plan is to work together to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in rural and urban communities throughout Hampshire, so I am delighted that this survey indicates that the county is performing well when it comes to protecting wildlife.

‘The survey highlights the considerable amount of work being undertaken by Hampshire Constabulary to deliver the Rural Crime Strategy, which responds to my challenge to reduce the gap in solved crime between the urban and rural communities and protect people and places across Hampshire.

‘Preventing and tackling wildlife and environmental crime is one of the areas of focus within the rural crime strategy. Wildlife crime in Hampshire is well recorded and, when appropriate, information is shared with the National Wildlife Crime Unit.’

He said the force has a team of country watch officers and has trained a further 600 officers in dealing with rural crimes.

He added: ‘Their work is purely focused on issues affecting rural communities, including poaching, habitat disturbance, and species persecution.’