A cyber-crime champion and hate crime officer has joined the Powys Rural Crime Team.

PCSO Miranda Whateley, joins team leader PC Charlie Jones and Newtown-based PCSO Gary Gwilt on the Powys team, which was launched in September 2018.

They aim to protect rural communities through crime prevention, intelligence gathering, enforcement and reassurance, as well as addressing issues around hidden harm and vulnerability.

PCSO Whateley, who has 12 years of experience with Dyfed-Powys Police, will primarily cover Brecon and Radnorshire areas.

She said: “I’m really pleased to join the rural crime team in Powys and to build on the good work they have carried out.

“I enjoy being out and about in the community, and I think it is really important that people living in rural areas have a familiar face to deal with their unique issues and challenges”.

“The team has built a fantastic level of trust with farmers, which is so important as farming can be a very lonely occupation, with many people feeling isolated and not knowing where to turn for help.

“Once the current restrictions ease, I’m looking forward to meeting local farmers at our many Powys livestock markets to introduce myself

“I also hope to help communicate the importance of looking after our beautiful countryside in Powys to people visiting the area.”

County Times: PCSO Miranda Whateley, PC Charlie Jones, Chief Constable Mark Collins and PCSO Gary Gwilt. Picture: Dyfed-Powys PolicePCSO Miranda Whateley, PC Charlie Jones, Chief Constable Mark Collins and PCSO Gary Gwilt. Picture: Dyfed-Powys Police

The team covers the whole of Powys, from Llanymynech to Ystradgynlais, dealing with issues ranging from sheep worrying and livestock thefts, to offering crime prevention advice and support.

To assist the team in getting around rural Powys, they have been provided with two 4x4 Ford Ranger trucks, which will allow them to get off the beaten track.

Powys is the largest county in Wales covering an area of around 2000 square miles, which consists of the old three counties of Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire and Brecknockshire.

PC Charlie Jones said: “Covering such a huge area presents its challenges, Powys is such a diverse division, with differing needs and demands from north to south, however this is what we enjoy about our role.

“We often work jointly and operate as an extension of our Powys Neighbourhood Policing Teams, who do a fantastic job in supporting rural areas.

"However, we specifically focus on farms, livestock, wildlife, animal welfare, common land, waterways and forestry areas.”

The rural crime team also works closely with partner agencies including the National Farmers’ Union, the Farmer’s Union of Wales, Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Government.

Newly-appointed Chief Inspector for north Powys Jacqui Lovatt said: “The expansion of our Rural Crime Team here in Powys shows our commitment to supporting rural communities and tackling crime in isolated areas.

“Miranda is well-known across the area, and brings skills as a cyber-crime champion and hate crime officer, and will be a welcome addition to the team.

“There has also been a reluctance to report rural crimes in the past, due to a feeling that police wouldn’t put the time into investigating them fully.

"We are committed to proving that rural crime is a priority for the force, and have seen some fantastic work carried out since the team was put in place.”