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Newly-promoted Sgt leading expanded Rural Task Force

Sgt Kevin Jones was a PC on the award-winning north bank task force, and now supervises this team alongside a new dedicated unit set up south of the Humber.

Humberside Police has acted on the success of its existing north bank Rural Task Force (RTF) by creating a new team to tackle rural, wildlife and heritage crime south of the Humber.

Both teams will be led by Sgt Kevin Jones, who was a PC on the original north bank team based in Driffield.

Now officially a Sgt - as of January 9 - he is excited by the prospect of having two teams to tackle cross-border criminality.

He said: "It is a very niche area, we are seen as subject matter experts - we are accredited heritage crime officers.

“The officers on the south bank are experienced, committed, they have a passion for rural, wildlife and heritage crime, and they’re embracing having another team on the north bank to bounce-off ideas and share operations with.”

The north bank team - made up of four PCs and one Sgt - was set up in January 2021 in response to the identification of "persistent wildlife crime" in the area.

Tasked with combatting offences such as daytime hare coursing and night poaching, badger baiting and raptor persecution, alongside co-ordinating disruption around Rural Acquisitive Crime, this group was crowned the Team of the Year at the 2022 WWF Awards held last October.

Sgt Jones says this recognition is down to the team's "proactive stance" to policing this type of crime, an approach which has had a tangible impact.

One example of this is hare coursing, of which there were 230 incident logs between August and November 2020 - before the first RTF was set up.

Compare this with the same period in 2022, when there were 52 logs across the East Riding area. “That’s a 77.4% reduction in hare coursing logs," he said.

Sgt Kevin Jones

Success stories such as these prompted the creation of the south bank RTF, a team of three PCs now up and running in Barton with Sgt Jones supervising.

While officers will be based at separate stations in Driffield and Barton, something Sgt Jones regards as "crucial", a concerted is being made to work as one unit.

He said: "One thing that we've done to provide a bit more of an inclusive, one-team culture is to put the north bank and south bank officers are on the same shift pattern.

"They'll also be sharing objectives; we have three force objectives: rural acquisitive crime, rural criminal damage and the poaching."

While one of his hopes over the next 12 months is to "build that joint-working", Sgt Jones also wants to use the officers who are locally-based to foster stronger ties with the community.

He said: "In essence what I have is a bigger team, I have a greater spread of officers, and I'm able to reach out to that rural and farming community on a wider scale."

Very proud of the work being done on Humberside, Sgt Jones says the team are receptive to sharing ideas.

"If any forces would like to see our work, we’ll quite happily invite them to come and have a look," he added.

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