Farming remains an important part of life here in East Hampshire, both in terms of the local economy but also the contribution to local communities. Damian maintains regular contact with the local NFU team and local farmers to discuss the issues that impact them and the sector more widely.
According to the local NFU team, more than 75,000 acres across East Hampshire is farmed, employing more than 1,000 people. The predominant sectors are cattle, sheep and crops.
Attacks on livestock is a significant issue for farmers across the country, and beyond the emotional impact it can have substantial financial consequences for their businesses.
And with the rise in dog ownership during the pandemic, there is a need for people to be more aware of how and when to control their dogs when accessing farmland. The Countryside Code provides important guidance for the general public, and local activist Terena Plowright continues to raise awareness of the issue through the Sheepwatch UK initiative.
Break ins and vehicle loss remains an on-going issue within rural communities like East Hampshire, and Damian takes part in Hampshire Constabulary's Rural Crime Tactical Board to represent the interests of local residents, alongside other key local stakeholders.
Although crimes should always be reported to the police via the 101 service, the Hampshire Alert initiative is another way for local people to exchange information with the police, to help detect and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.