Farm and construction security image

A newly created specialist police unit has been launched to help combat the ongoing impact of rural and construction site crime.

This new unit, the Agricultural and Construction Equipment (ACE) will be tasked specifically with tackling organised gangs targeting valuable construction and farm machinery and vehicles.

Equipment and machinery theft from construction sites and farms has a significant impact on the businesses targeted:

Earlier this year, NFU Mutual released their annual rural crime report. The data shows the financial impact of rural crime reduced in 2020. However, the threat posed by organised criminals is still a major issue for countryside communities.

The pandemic has caused certain types of rural crime to rise, whilst new threats have emerged such as pet theft.

Below is a summary on the impact of rural crime:

  • Replacing equipment and machinery costs money
  • Insurance claims take up valuable time
  • Downtime impacts profit

New Police Unit to Target Theft on Farms and Construction Sites

The newly formed ACE unit will be administered within Opal, the UK-wide national intelligence unit currently focused on organised theft.

In a recent article, we offered advice to owners and operators of farms on how to improve farm security.

If you are reading this article and are responsible for building site security, read our construction site security guide for helpful advice and tips.

This new unit will have complete access to Opal’s considerable resources including police officers, intelligence analysts and more.

The ACE national intelligence team will work directly with the industry, building positive relationships to support and promote initiatives to prevent theft and maximise the recovery of stolen equipment.

Detective inspector Ernie Locke, of the opal national intelligence unit, serious and organised acquisitive crime division, offered his comments on the new ACE Unit:

“Our role has many facets including problem-solving skills, delivering the four Ps strategy of prepare, prevent, protect and pursue, identifying emerging threats and intelligence on a regional, national and international level. By working collaboratively, sharing best practices and the timely sharing of information, the ACE unit will help reduce agricultural and construction equipment theft.”

Amanda Blakeman, Deputy chief constable, NPCC lead for serious organised acquisitive crime said:

“This is a really positive move to improve the response of UK policing in tackling the organised theft of plant and agricultural equipment. We are really grateful for the strong support of partners such as the CEA, the AEA (Agricultural Engineers Association) and the insurance industry and welcome their commitment to developing a strong working relationship moving forward.”

NPCC lead for agricultural machinery theft, superintendent Andy Huddleston, commented:

“The launch of the ACE team will massively help the fight against agricultural machinery theft – the sharing of intelligence and targeting of organised crime groups in this specialist area of thefts is key. I very much look forward to working with the team and the operational benefits this will bring to UK policing.”

Rural crime statistics 

In a recent blog we highlighted the impact of rural crime on the UK economy. The figures are staggering.

NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report 2021

Crime in the UK fell by 32% on average, against ore lockdown data.

The above data indicates crime remained alarmingly high in the rural and farming industries.

CCTV at a farm

Looking at your current security requirements?

Safeguard Systems designs and installs robust, and effective commercial security systems. We have deployed systems at many farms and construction sites in the South of England.

If you are currently looking at your requirements, or reviewing your current systems you can find out more about our services here: