Horseriders sign up to be crimefighters in rural Northants

Insp Julie Mead
Insp Julie Mead

More than 50 riders have signed up to help in the fight against crime in rural parts of the county.

Northamptonshire Police has had dozens of people sign up to be part of an army of volunteer horseriders who will provide them with extra sets of eyes and ears.

Those who have signed up to be volunteers on horseback are horse owners who will keep an eye out for problems in rural areas while out and about riding in the countryside and let the police know about any issues they come across.

Riders who become volunteers are all aged 18 or over and provide their own horses.

Before joining the scheme, they under take road safety training with the British Horse Society and are given an equestrian jacket featuring the police logo to identify them as volunteers.

The volunteers will not be given patrol routes or asked to confront people they see breaking the law.

Instead, they will be asked to keep an eye out for problems as they ride along lanes, bridleways and paths in the countryside and report any issues they see to the police.

It is hoped their presence will also have an impact on motorists in rural areas who will be encouraged to slow down by the presence of uniformed riders.

Sector Commander for East Northants Julie Mead is looking forward to seeing the initiative in action.

Speaking to the Northants Telegraph earlier this month, Insp Mead said: “We are looking for people to be a volunteer on a horse.

“We will give you a jacket and a blanket for your horse.”

She hopes it will lead to more information being passed to officers to help prevent rural crime, such as setting up for an illegal rave or parked vehicles which seem suspicious.

Riders can hopefully cover ground which officers may not be able to patrol regularly.

Insp Mead also hopes it will help reduce speeding on rural roads, adding: “When people are racing past you, all drivers will see is what they think is a police officer so hopefully they will slow down.”

The move to introduce volunteers on horseback comes after similar projects were launched by a number of other forces across the country.

In Hertfordshire, the force has four special constables who ride horses, as well as a number of volunteer riders.

Their scheme was launched in 2009 and has been well received.

In Norfolk, the force has a number of special constables who use their own horses for patrols, and in Hampshire the force has a number of volunteers on horseback.