New research which will inform the budget-setting of rural police forces in the future have confirmed one of the idyllic aspects of life in the countryside.
People in rural areas suffer less crime, and are less frightened by the prospect of it.
The report “Rural areas and crime” takes information from the British Crime Survey 1996, and compares findings from rural, urban and inner-city areas.
Key findings are: the risks of a rural house being burgled are almost three times lower than the risks to an inner-city home, thefts of or from vehicles form a larger proportion of crimes in rural areas than elsewhere, reflecting higher levels of vehicle ownership, and satisfaction with the service provided by the police is higher in rural areas.
Home Office Ministers have recently commissioned external consultants to examine the extra costs, if any, of the provision of police services in areas with sparse population. The results of this work will be available to inform the police settlement in 2000/2001. A separate piece of external research running in parallel is examining whether there are additional costs involved in policing difficult inner city areas.