Policing the changing landscape of rural crime: a case study from Scotland.
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Although the notion of rural crime has an idyllic aura to it, crime occurs in a changing social landscape and is affected by demographic changes, changing crime trends and by the introduction of new policing practices. Similarly, exactly what constitutes rural crime is also open to debate and changes over time. Likewise, we only have a fuzzy notion of the stereotypical rural criminal and find it difficult to acknowledge the existence of a rural criminal underclass. As a result crime in a rural context is more difficult to police than crime in an urban landscape because it requires a different set of skills and practices than policing the urban landscape. The closure of rural police stations and the reallocation of scarce policing resources to urban hotspots has inevitably led to a deskilling of the archetypal 'Country Bobby'. Consequentially, this quasi-longitudinal case study examines changes in policing practices in a [fictionalized] sub-division in rural Scotland over a forty year period. This enables consideration of the changing rural landscape of crime and from this mapping process implications and conclusions in relation to good practice on rural policing to emerge.