MP for Penrith and The Border, again put the scourge rural crime in the national spotlight when quizzing the Justice Minister on what steps his Department is taking to aid Police and rural communities in their fight against countryside criminals.
Referencing, rural-specific crimes such as farm machinery and animal theft, animal cruelty and fly-tipping, Dr Hudson continued his campaign to bolster Cumbria Police and make rural communities safer.
These comments came during the first Ministry of Justice Questions of 2023, which were fielded by the Minister of State for Victims and Sentencing, Edward Argar MP. Mr Argar said the Penrith MP was right to highlight the important work being done in Cumbria to tackle rural crime before pointing to progress being made on officer recruitment, hare coursing and quad bike theft.
Speaking afterwards, Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border said:
"As I said in the Chamber, there is some incredible work being done on the ground here in Cumbria already. Cumbria Farmwatch and Horsewatch schemes provide the Police and Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, with much needed community support, and Operation Lantern tackling rural crime in Cumbria is in the vanguard of policing. This should rightly be celebrated and supported by Government.
"I repeatedly raise rural crime in the Chamber and in discussions with Ministers, so it was heartening to hear about action being undertaken centrally. Rural communities need the same respect and attention as urban communities when it comes to tackling crime and I will continue to bang the drum for Cumbrians in Westminster.
"I thank the Minister for his response, and I look forward to supporting our Conservative Government's legislative agenda on justice which will make rural communities safer through tougher sentencing and more police support."
The exchange in the House of Commons:
Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, asked:
"Rural and wildlife crime sadly continue to affect our local communities, from theft of farm machinery to fly-tipping to vandalism, to the distressing theft of animals and animal cruelty. These are just some of the issues facing rural areas. Cumbria has the excellent Cumbria Farmwatch and Horsewatch schemes - partnerships between people and Cumbria Police.
"But what reassurances can my Hon. Friend give my constituents in Penrith and The Border that the Government is supporting the Police and communities in the fight against rural crime?"
Edward Argar, Minister of State for Victims and Sentencing, replied:
"My Hon. Friend is right to highlight the work going on in Cumbria and I pay tribute to the work of Peter McCall, the Police and Crime Commissioner, and to Cumbria Police that they are undertaking to tackle rural crime through Operation Lantern.
"Alongside Government investment in 20,000 more police officers nationally, we're supporting the Police through the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Act, for example by introducing new hare coursing offences and supporting the Private Members Bill by my Hon. Friend, the Member for Buckingham [Greg Smith MP], to prevent quad bike theft."