Rural crime partnership recognised with ‘best team’ national award

The achievements of the Police Scotland-chaired Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) have been recognised with a UK-wide industry award.

Nov 25, 2021
By Paul Jacques
Police Scotland’s Inspector Alan Dron (second from left) and Sergeant Carly Bryce (second from right) receiving the Best Team award on behalf of the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime at the UK Combined Industries Theft Solutions Conference in Staffordshire.

The partnership was named ‘Best Team’ at this week’s UK Combined Industries Theft Solutions Conference following a “surprise” nomination by police and industry partners.

Chaired by Inspector Alan Dron, SPARC has been the driving force behind a strategic vision to coordinate “cohesive and sustained” crime-prevention advice tailored to rural communities.

The award acknowledged SPARC’s work in reducing threats from organised crime groups, as well as promoting appropriate and effective crime-prevention techniques.

The group also supports intelligence gathering, which frequently results in enforcement activity, while contributing to regular reassurance messaging applicable to rural dwellers and businesses, regardless of their geographical locations.

Insp Dron, accompanied by Sergeant Carly Bryce from Police Scotland’s National Rural and Acquisitive Crime Unit, were attending the UK-wide event at JCB World Headquarters in Staffordshire when they learnt of their nomination, which, “unbeknown to them”, had been proposed by industry members and policing representatives across the country.

On receiving the award, Insp Dron said: “We were both extremely surprised, and humbled, that the work of SPARC has been recognised so widely. We have a dedicated team working on SPARC and we all appreciate what a unique role we occupy within policing in Scotland, and that we can truly make a significant difference to people living and working in rural communities the length and breadth of the country.

“What we have achieved has only been made possible as a result of collaboration with genuine, equally-focused and passionate partners, coupled with policing colleagues in our 13 territorial divisions who assist SPARC and the team on a daily basis.”

Feedback from representatives of Scotland’s rural communities and environments has shown that SPARC has given them “confidence that any crime-related issues affecting them are taken seriously, acted upon and understood”.

Judges praised SPARC’s work developing and driving “a holistic, inclusive and sustainable approach – involving a diverse number of partners – to tackling rural crime”.

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