16 Nov 2011

Police and farmers aim for better cooperation

7:05 am on 16 November 2011

Police and Federated Farmers have signed a letter of agreement aimed at improving cooperation and communications, especially during emergencies in rural areas.

The agreement stems from farmer frustration during an operation near Norsewood in southern Hawke's Bay two years ago, when police cordoned off a farming area while they searched for a gunman.

Some farmers were shut out for two days and were unable to milk their cows and check on newborn calves.

Farmers criticised communication breakdowns at the time.

Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills says the aim is to avoid that in future.

He hopes that with the agreement and a bit more understanding, those involved in a situation with animal welfare issues could work together to see if the rural community's concerns could be satisfied.

Mr Wills says police will be able to plug into Federated Farmers' extensive rural network to get messages out and receive information back when they need to.

Under the agreement police and farming representatives will meet annually to review their working relationship.