Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has said that if we are to tackle crimes against the farming community then we must have specific figures in which to measure progress.
Mr McMullan said,
“I asked the Minister of Justice David Ford if it was possible to distinguish between the figures of convictions between rural and agriculture crimes.
“The Minister said that the figures were generic and could not identify specific crimes against the farming community.
“I am concerned that the levels of crimes against the farming community have risen specifically over the past few years with livestock and machinery being the focus of these.
“The PSNI have already informed us that not one person has been charged with the theft of livestock so it is important that we can identify the true level of crime against farmers.
“Sinn Féin has successfully pressed the PSNI to set up a dedicated unit to tackle this type of crime but unless we have figures we will be unable to gauge the success or failure of this unit.
“I am calling on the Minister to now set about redefining the rural crime figures into farming and non farming and setting targets to eradicate these gangs and individuals who are preying upon the farming community.”