A new course has been created by young farmers and the police to help young farmers reduce crime on the farms they work on.

The bespoke training course – Helping Farmers to Prevent Crime – has been developed by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) and the Police Crime Prevention Academy (the Academy), in association with NFU Mutual. 

Inspired by an initiative started by Cumbria Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) with their local Neighbourhood Watch, the course will roll out across all of the 577 YFCs across England and Wales from April 24.

The new course will teach young farmers practical ways to identify vulnerabilities on their own and local farms and actions they can take to prevent themselves from becoming victims of crime.  

The course will also help them understand the financial and emotional impacts of rural crime and it will signpost them to other resources and support.  

Cumbria county chair Will Longmire said: “Cumbria County Federation of YFC is proud to have started this initiative and we're delighted it has been turned into a resource that can now be used by all YFCs across England and Wales.  

“Young farmers can safeguard their future livelihoods by being aware of simple steps to help prevent crime and by making practical suggestions to the farms of neighbours and friends. It also means YFCs can contribute to the overall safety of their neighbours and local communities.” 

Rural crime costs the UK an estimated £40.5m, according to NFU Mutual, and continues to be a great cause of concern for the wider rural community.  

Farmers are often targeted by criminals due to their remote locations with easy access to high-value equipment.  

With more than 22,000 YFC members based in rural locations, it is hoped NFYFC’s training will raise awareness of crime prevention among a large group of young people who can help influence their local communities.  

As the current economic situation worsens and insurance premiums increase, being a victim of crime could be a critical factor in a farm being lost to the next generation of farmers. 

The stretched resources of partner agencies such as the police and the under-reporting of crime in rural communities can make a bad situation worse. 

READ NEXT: Agri-crusher worth £46k stolen from Dorset found in Cheshire

Amanda Mulholland, learning and development manager for the Police Crime Prevention Academy, said: "The Academy was delighted to have been approached by Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch Association in the first instance in November 2021 to develop a training package for local young farmers, and recognition must be given to the chair Joe Murray for his vision and persistence.   

“NFU Mutual was a willing partner and then working with NFYFC was a great opportunity to provide access to the course to a significant number of young people whose futures in farming and rural communities across the UK could so easily be adversely impacted if their family, friends and neighbours become victims of crime.” 

The course was written for YFC trainers to deliver to NFYFC affiliated clubs. YFC trainers are qualified and accredited trainers who have completed the NFYFC Train the Trainer and/or hold a teaching qualification.