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Settle Ingleton & Bentham Mobile Rural Watch

In August last year, North Yorkshire Police had a meeting with people from the communities of Bentham, Ingleton & Settle to see if there was an interest in forming a Voluntary Mobile Rural Watch within our area. This was in response to the recent rise in rural crime that cost North Yorkshire more than £1.78 million last year making it the 4th worst affected county in the UK by cost.

With a rise in rural crime of 86.7% from 2017, the pressure on the resources of the police is enormous. There are currently 2o+ volunteers in the Settle Ingleton & Bentham area. There are 18 other rural watch groups throughout North Yorkshire with well over 300 members that help the police cover some 3,341 square miles of countryside interlinked with 5,750 miles of roads. The majority of the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors are within the counties boundaries. Our Group known as the Settle Ingleton & Bentham Mobile Rural Watch is one of the most recently formed groups and we cover an area that includes 11 Parishes and 2 Town Councils. All the groups work closely with North Yorkshire Police.

Members have to work to a Code of Conduct and strict guidelines, they work in pairs, in their own vehicles and report to the police on any suspicious activity of individuals or vehicles during the day and night. There are three types of membership within the group. Vetted, none-vetted but active, Non Vetted and non-active. The later are members who wish to remain at home but follow the activity of the other members, contributing towards patrols with knowledge about the area, people, vehicles and farms to those out on patrol. The non-vetted but active members go out on Watch with other members but cannot use police radios on police organised patrols. Vetted members can use police radios. All volunteers patrol in their own vehicles for periods during the hours of darkness. The Settle Ingleton & Bentham Watch (SIB) are looking for more volunteers to join the group and help combat the organised criminals entering the county and stealing from our communities.

The Mobile Rural Watch act only as “eyes and ears” for the police and report in on 101 or if an emergency 999. We are not, nor will we ever be a vigilante group acting independently from the police. Our interest are in helping the police to protect the community from crime, we have no police powers, we do not get involved in vehicle chases nor can we arrest anyone. Our main role is to observe and gather information, which allows the police a better opportunity of catching these organised criminal gangs who are invading our communities and committing crime.

The cost to businesses and our local community is high, the cost to insurance companies is rising and affecting us all, these costs are measureable, but the emotional and stressful effects caused by these crimes cannot be and they are having a dramatic effect on lives and the livelihood of people and businesses within our rural communities. Over the last 12 months, the most common targets for thieves have been tools, ATV/Quads, machinery and fuel. Our group are looking to recruit new members at all levels into the group but are also seeking sponsorship to help equip the volunteers with Waterproof kit bags, Hi Viz Jackets, High-powered rechargeable torches, Dash Cams and Detailed, waterproof Ordnance Survey maps of the area. We have a website that we are in the process of developing that we hope will in the near future help us with many aspects of the groups work.

We do not want to give anyone the wrong impression and therefore the wrong reason for joining. This is a voluntary position; members give freely the hours they are out on Watch. Police requirements to become active members are – You must have a mobile phone that you will use to communicate with other members whilst out on Watch, you must be prepared to use your own vehicle. You must not carry any kind of weapon. If you wish to be able to use police radios, you will have to undergo vetting; this is a detailed background check on you. All members have a basic Police check. The Settle Ingleton & Bentham Mobile Rural Watch do have a website that is in the process of development. This will eventually allow members of the public to help the Watch fight crime in the area.   The web address is  anyone wishing to join the group can contact me for more details on Any donations can be sent in the form of a cheque to the Treasurer, Settle Ingleton & Bentham Mobile Rural Watch, C/O Settle Police Station, Duke Street Settle BD24 9DU. Or by BACS (contact us for details)

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