Rural crime can be so tough on local communities. You can feel isolated living in the countryside and it’s really important that police are on hand to help.
I know that for some of our local farmers it hasn't felt like that recently, and so at the end of January I hosted a roundtable in Chart Sutton with my fellow Maidstone MP Helen Grant to put those concerns to local police.
Along with the Rural Task Force, we also had Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott come along and listen to farmers from across the local area - including Marden, Yalding, Staplehurst, Headcorn, Sutton Valence, Chart Sutton, Leeds and Boughton Monchelsea.
Everyone there had stories of theft, vandalism and intimidation that they'd be subjected to, and asked police to do more to support them.
It was great to hear officers commit to that. We agreed a set of actions to go away and work on over the next few months which are good for farmers and the wider community. This includes expanding the Rural Task Force, making sure each ward has its own named officer, and reducing the time taken to answer 101 calls.
Helen Grant and I will also be speaking to the Farming Minister about the impact of rural crime on people's wellbeing, and the Justice Minister about current sentencing guidelines.
Everyone deserves to feel safe where they live, and that’s why as a government we’re putting more police officers on our streets than ever before – including here in Kent.