Riders in Hertfordshire have taken to the streets — and fields — to try to combat rural crime.
The county’s police force has appointed 14 of its special constables to police rural areas — on horseback if they wish — to tackle crime in the countryside.
“We need to start listening to our rural communities,” said Inspector George Holland, who devised the scheme last year.
The rural special constables, whether mounted or not, have full police powers and will patrol in uniform.
They aim to provide reassurance to rural communities and help prevent crime.
While the position is voluntary, Hertfordshire Police will provide full training and pay expenses.
Kate Solomon, a housing support manager for the London borough of Barnet, has been a special constable in Hertfordshire for more than three years.
Last week, she and her horse Frankie joined the rural specials unit.
“We’ll patrol areas that we ride in already and look out for suspicious activity and anything that would be interesting to criminals. This morning, for example, I spotted a farmer had left a trailer full of fertiliser out,” she said.
“We’re able to get to places on horseback that a patrol car can’t reach. We are rural people ourselves so we understand the issues better.”
Mrs Solomon carries a radio to call for backup should she see any suspicious activity.
Hertfordshire Police would like to double the number of rural specials by the start of
next year and is urging gamekeepers, farmers and anyone with an interest in the rural community, who is in good general health, to apply.
• For more information, visit www.hertspolicecareers.co.uk/rural or contact Insp George Holland on 01923 472154 for an informal chat