THAMES Valley Police is recruiting a new team of volunteer rural crime spotters in Chiltern and South Bucks.
The volunteers are horse riders who will help with rural crime prevention while out on their normal hacking routes.
The role is voluntary and has no police powers attached but builds on the work of the force’s Horse Watch network which links horse owners, riders and equestrian workers with their local police teams.
To become a rural spotter, riders must past an application process and undertake a short training course. They must be 18+ with their own horse, personal liability insurance, own transport and no criminal record.
Volunteers will report any suspicious activity, including fly-tipping, unauthorised off- road biking and hare coursing to the NFU Rural Crime Reporting line on a free phone number, 0800 7830137.
Anyone interested should email Helen Evans, the Thames Valley Police equine liaison volunteer, who had the idea for the scheme. She said: “Within the equine community we have an untapped source of people who are able to act as the eyes and ears of the police in rural areas.
“Riders have the unique ability to go to fairly inaccessible places and have the advantage of height to see over hedges. My hope is that the scheme will make the countryside a safer place for all.”
Neighbourhood Sergeant Darren Walsh said: “By working together with the riding community, we can make criminals think twice, and deter and detect crime.”
Berks, Bucks and Oxon NFU Chairman Jeff Powell said: “Rural Spotters on horseback will be well placed to report any unusual or suspicious behaviour in the Buckinghamshire countryside and then log this anonymously through the NFU’s Rural Crime Reporting Line, run in partnership with Crimestoppers.”
For more details, see the Chiltern Community Forum.