Rural crime and policing

Nurse, Angus ORCID logoORCID: (2013) Rural crime and policing. In: Interpreting Rurality: Multidisciplinary Approaches. Bosworth, Gary and Somerville, Peter, eds. Routledge, pp. 205-218. ISBN 9780415696722. [Book Section]

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This chapter considers questions of rurality in the context of rural crime. Law and criminology debate what constitutes rural crime and how it should be addressed. This chapter critically evaluates different perspectives on rural crime and its law enforcement and policy problems.

One definition of rural crime is that of “Small towns, farming communities and the open countryside” whereas governmental bodies like the Scottish Executive have used definitions of Accessible Rural (populations’ small than 10,000 and within 30 minute drive of a larger settlement) and Remote Rural (populations smaller than 10,000 and more than 30 minute drive of larger settlement). However, from an operational policing perspective, rural crime can be simply any crime that happens in a rural area, or crimes that are rural specific (e.g. poaching, wildlife crime such as badger baiting).

This chapter critically evaluates the different definitions of rural crime and the impact that these have on law enforcement and policy perspectives. It concludes that while politicians and other policymakers operate according to a definition of rural crime that defines it as crime occurring in rural areas and affecting the wider rural community, NGOs and some practitioners view rural crime as predominantly crime affecting wildlife and its habitats. As a result, the specific challenges of rural policing (e.g. generally lower resources, wider geographical areas to cover) remain both operational policing and policy problems and the link between rural crimes and other forms of offending are not fully addressed in policy or practice. This chapter thus formulates a new definition of rural crime recommending an inclusive approach to rurality in both offending and type of crime.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: © 2014 – Routledge
Keywords (uncontrolled): rural crime policing environmental crime criminology environmental justice green criminology
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
A. > School of Law > Social Policy Research Centre
Item ID: 13876
Notes on copyright: This is an authors draft manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in Interpreting Rurality: Multidisciplinary Approaches on 18/10/2013, available online:
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Depositing User: Angus Nurse
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2014 14:10
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 00:05

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