An ex-SAS military adviser and his daughter have has launched a new business specialising in improving farm security and personal safety.
Having spent 22 years working in corporate security following 24 years in the military, Mick Hawkes returned to rural Herefordshire, where he realised how significant the problem of rural crime has become. “The Government and the police seem to do very little to help, and rural crime is a financial, physical and mental burden on farmers,” he says. “I came back to the UK to help people defeat criminals, teaching personal safety and situational awareness with my daughter Keeley. But when I realised the challenges that farmers and rural communities are facing, I decided to see if I could help them with a more practical approach.”
Mr Hawkes spent 14 years in the SAS, and as part of his work in Northern Ireland he worked for four years breaking into farm complexes covertly to combat the IRA. He then returned to Hereford, where he taught military students in the art of Close Target Recces, again, working around farms covertly. “I therefore have a strong understanding of farms’ weak points, and know that farmers and farm workers are the first line of defence against criminals.”
Rural theft across the UK cost an estimated £40.5m in 2021, according to NFU Mutual’s annual report, with thieves targeting fuel, livestock and machinery. And the cost increased by over 40% in the first quarter of 2022, with rural crime a worry to 50% of the rural community.
But it’s not just farm theft that is a concern for rural residents – the rise in animal rights extremists breaking into farms is a very real threat, and training in farm security and situational awareness will help producers to combat this. “It’s about knowing what to look out for, general vigilance, and ensuring your own personal safety,” says Mr Hawkes.
He also knows that farmers are on tight budgets, so he is offering a cost-effective approach to farm security, rather than selling expensive security systems. “We can carry out security assessments of vulnerable farms that have been targeted for crime, then recommend cost effective solutions using what they already have, to ensure we keep recommendations realistic.”
Mr Hawkes and his daughter also offer personal safety training for farmers, their workers and families. “Keeley trains young people and adults in security, situational awareness and rape prevention, helping them to manage confrontation and keep safe on the streets,” says Mr Hawkes. “If we can maintain zero security incidents working in the world’s crime hotspots, then we can do the same in here in the UK countryside.”
For more information visit www.hawkesandco.uk or call 07929 233092.
Hawkes & Co offers personal security training to young people and adults, security consultancy to global organisations and employees travelling to high-risk countries. It builds strong security teams to deploy worldwide alongside safety frameworks and programmes. It also writes emergency contingency programmes including kidnap and ransom, crisis management and emergency evacuation. Most recently it has branched into farm security and situational awareness, helping rural residents to combat crime.