Approximately 72% of Essex is rural with 350, 000 residents, 22,500 businesses and 250,000 hectares of farmed land. People who live in isolated rural areas can feel particularly vulnerable, which makes it extremely important that we tackle rural crime, and the fear of crime, effectively.

Rural crime

The term “rural crime” can mean any type of crime that occurs in a rural location or where the victim is specifically targeted because of their connection to or involvement in the rural community, economy or area. Essex Police recognise that certain offences can have a significant impact in rural areas, and some can be specific to rural locations.

Offences can include:

  • Crimes involving farm equipment and livestock
  • Crimes against small rural businesses
  • Wildlife crime, such as the illegal taking or trapping of animals or birds
  • Hare Coursing – causing damage to farm crops, livestock, perimeters, as well as to the hares
  • Fly-tipping – Industrial scale fly tips left on land that the landowners have to dispose of
  • Serious and organised crime: remote locations can be attractive for organised crime groups

Farm Watch

Farm Watch is similar to Neighbourhood Watch, but is police led and focuses on isolated rural and farming communities. The only difference is that the houses and farms are much further apart, and that some crimes differ.

  • To improve communication between the rural and farming community and the police.
  • To encourage rural communities to undertake appropriate crime prevention measures.
  • To reduce opportunities for crime to occur in farming and rural communities.
  • To encourage everyone to report crimes and suspicious activity as soon as possible.
  • To strengthen community spirit, so that everyone works together to protect their property.
  • To provide Farm Watch signs to deter criminals and anti-social behaviour.

Participating in a Watch scheme can increase feelings of safety and security in rural areas, enhance the prevention and detection of crime, and help Essex Police to bring offenders to justice and recover stolen property.

What Essex Police will do

  • Liaise with Farm Watch members through a dedicated Essex Watch Liaison Officer (EWLO).
  • Provide members with information in relation to farm / rural crimes.
  • Provide advice regarding security measures.
  • Inform members of relevant news and events
  • Engage with farmers and rural partners and agencies through organised meetings where required.
  • Work with key partners, the community and neighbouring forces to tackle rural crime

To join, please return the completed form overleaf by post to:

Essex Watch Liaison Officers, c/o LPSU, Essex Police Headquarters, PO Box 2, Springfield, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 6DA

You can also send it via email to:
[email protected]

Essex Police on social media

We're on all the main social networks.  See all the details and links on our social media page.

Reporting incidents

Firstly, do not put yourself in harm's way. For crimes in progress or if life is in danger, always call 999.

You can use our live chat service any day between 7am and 11pm or report crime and anti-social behaviour on our website.

Or, for all non-urgent crime call 101.

For anonymous reporting, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at

What we might need to know

  • Report the incident as soon as possible
  • Include information such as incident location including landmarks or your phone’s GPS location. You can use the free What3Words smartphone application to pinpoint your location anywhere in the world to a 3 metre square with three words.
  • Provide as much detail as possible about what you have seen and heard, such as descriptions of persons seen, vehicles (including make, model, colour, registration, direction of travel)
  • Any dash cam footage or photographic evidence