Law-breakers across rural Oxfordshire villages are thinking twice before carrying out agricultural and construction machinery thefts or taking part in anti-social behaviour thanks to Kubota’s RTV-X900 utility vehicle.
The sturdy RTV has been loaned to Thames Valley Police to allow the force to patrol miles of countryside and protect farms and local businesses from being targeted by criminals.
Thames Valley Police is the first police force in the UK to introduce an all-terrain vehicle to its fleet and the impact is already showing after six months, with the force seeing crime rates fall rapidly thanks to the constant presence of police officers being able to access areas of land that were previously out of bounds or difficult to access.
Two residents who have experienced the RTV’s benefits first hand are Colin and Pauline Rouse, residents of Backhouse Farm in Bampton. The couple had previously been victims of an arson attack when bales in their field were set alight, causing huge devastation and a significant loss of income. The use of the RTV by the force meant that when a second arson attack took place, Police Community Support Officer, Colin Davies, was able to get to the scene of the crime within minutes before heavy rainfall washed away incriminating evidence.
Colin said, “The RTV has been invaluable in helping us reach a much higher percentage of rural crimes and improve the service we provide to the local community, such as the arson attack at Backhouse Farm. Local farmers have recognised what we can now do and have been fantastic in supporting us, providing access to their land so that when an incident takes place, we can be patrolling the difficult countryside terrain in rapid time.
“We only have two cars at the station, so six months ago if a crime had taken place off road on difficult terrain, we would have struggled to get to the crime scene quickly. Having use of the RTV means that we can now be patrolling the fields much more efficiently, with the rural environment we are able to attend before some specialist departments.. This significantly improves our chance of catching the perpetrators.”
In addition to being used to patrol the countryside, the utility vehicle has been put to good use in the town centre proving its versatility.
The force has attended around 96 crimes across Carterton, Bampton and Norton since the RTV arrived in June 2015, with each officer able to get to the scene in under one hour. Landowners and farmers have also reported a lack of suspicious incidents taking place in the area over the past six months.
Colin said, “Rural crime is a hard problem to tackle when you don’t have the equipment to get out and about over harsh lands to catch the offenders. Now that we’re regularly patrolling the fields and parks in the RTV however, offenders know that if they commit a crime, they won’t get away with it anymore.”