Image credit: MASONS via The Telegraph
From police on Vectrix electric scooters to cycling proficiency courses for cops, the British police are clearly willing to think outside the box when it comes to more efficient, and effective, transportation. But when Lincolnshire police unveiled a 25mph police tractor, complete with blue flashing light, many folks were a little baffled. So what the heck is going on? I came across this story via Transition Culture's Rob Hopkins on Twitter. Rob was asking whether officers would be helping plough fields as part of their community policing. Yet while the jokes may run and run (slowly), and while the stunt is attracting some negative attention from tax payers concerned about police spending on promotional items—there is a serious story underneath all this with environmental implications—agricultural theft.
As if small farmers weren't having a hard time of it already, agricultural theft is an increasing problem. We aren't just talking about expensive equipment either. Farmers are losing all kinds of unlikely items. From hay bales being sold on the black market to rogue beekeepers stealing millions of bees, tackling this problem is clearly an important part of supporting agricultural sustainability.
I should be clear that the police will not be chasing down thieves with their tractor any time soon. (Though that would make for great TV!) Instead, the tractor is going to be displayed at agricultural shows and other events to raise awareness of the problem—and to boost public confidence in police efforts to protect farmers. The police were quick to add though, that the tractor will also be useful in floods and other emergencies. No word on whether they'll be using that flashing blue light.
More on Agricultural Theft and Other Farming Challenges
Millions Stolen! Bee Theft Multiplies as Prices Soar
US Farmers Turning to Mule Power to Fight Rising Oil Prices
Kansas Senator Calls Small Farmers GQ-Reading Shrimpy Dilettantes