Report that says the traveller community plays a major role in rural crime has been delayed due to fears of a woke backlash, claims police source
- The National Rural Crime Network ordered the research into serious crime
- The study was due for release last October but bosses ruled it should be delayed
- Report is now due for release this summer but original conclusions may change
A report that says the traveller community plays a significant role in rural crime has been delayed over fears of a woke backlash, it was claimed last night.
The National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) – made up of 32 crime commissioners and their forces – ordered the research into serious and organised crime in the countryside and found the traveller community featured prominently in offences such as hare coursing, fly-tipping, farm vehicle theft and poaching.
The study was due for release last October, but the organisation’s bosses ruled it should be delayed so more evidence could be gathered.
The traveller community featured prominently in offences such as hare coursing, fly-tipping, farm vehicle theft and poaching, according to the report
Conservative MP Peter Bone said: ‘People feel there is one set of rules for us, and one set of rules for travellers. Let’s have the report out and let’s have the arguments.’
A police source said: ‘The report has been hugely delayed as there were real concerns at the fall-out because it found travellers played a big part in rural crime. They’re terrified the woke brigade will jump down their throats, so they asked for more supporting evidence to ensure against that.
‘But every month delayed is another month we delay having this out in the open and a proper debate about how we help rural communities who feel under siege.’
The report is now due for release this summer, but it is unclear whether it will include the original conclusions. Last night, Conservative MP Peter Bone said: ‘We’ve had problems in the past when police forces have gone soft on certain sections of the community and, as a result, finding out terrible crimes have been carried out.
‘People feel there is one set of rules for us, and one set of rules for travellers. Let’s have the report out and let’s have the arguments.’
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, the NRCN’s new chairman, said Covid had created difficulties collecting evidence, but that he did not want to see a ‘protracted delay’.
He added: ‘There are some sensitivities in the report… but these reports have to be used otherwise there is no point doing it. The sensitivity here is that you don’t want to label all travellers as difficult people to deal with, because they’re not. But sadly there are, as there are in many other groups of society, organised crime groups who do get involved.’
The broadcast regulator Ofcom received about 900 complaints last May after a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary claimed crime rates were higher near traveller sites.
Last night, the Friends, Families and Travellers charity said it would await the final NRCN report before commenting.
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