Praise for the Police

IT'S BEEN some years since this newspaper got into trouble with the Police! Back then, we hinted that given the amount of farm crime going on that remained unsolved, nothing appeared to be ever done to stop it. Was there something to hide?, we asked.

Not surprisingly, this brought a stiff letter of complaint from the higher echelons of the constabulary. How dare we suggest that officers were, at best, not giving respect to rural crime and failing to try and do something about it.

Well, here we are some years on and we must give praise where it is due. Maybe we were a catalyst back then – along with NFUS who also complained at the time and campaigned with us. We'll probably never know. But it is happening now. Rural crime is being taken seriously and a lot of the thanks for that are down to the initiatives of the Scottish National Rural Crime Unit – and especially the two officers responsible for driving it – when it was set up in 2019.

This has taken a pragmatic, serious and methodical approach to helping solve the problem of rural crime. It appears that it has also been able to gather together some sympathy across Divisional and even country divides (see our lead page story). The result is a new cross-border link which will put further pressure on criminal gangs, that have been in the habit of operating at will.

More power to their elbow. Sometimes a success story can be a catalyst for changing opinion too. Historically, farmers and rural people were reluctant to contact the Police on the accepted premise that nothing would be done. Well it is now and so, even at the risk of increasing the 'crime' figures because of better and additional reporting, then let that be the case.

When there is a will on the part of the Police to stamp this insidious crime wave out, then the least the industry and rural people in general can do is to help achieve that goal. But, for now, keep that quad locked up!

Stamp our ragwort

Ragwort is a scourge of the countryside. This much un-loved weed is also a dangerous one and it's high time that we all got to grips with it.

While there are a minority of landowners who do not seem to care about the issues it causes, it is probably the many local authorities up and down the country who have allowed this pernicious weed to proliferate across from verges to field, with no control measures whatsoever.

As our story on page 4 highlights, while this is not a notifiable weed in the same way that Japanese knotweed is, there is expected to be a duty of care over its control and that if it gets out of hand, then there are measure than can be put in place where it poses a threat to livestock and forage crops. Time for action.