EMSWORTH residents can expect a new approach to tackling rural crime – as Hampshire Constabulary joins forces with Hampshire Horsewatch.
Twelve riders have become police volunteers and will patrol on their horses across the county.
Volunteers will patrol the lanes, bridleways and country roads around Emsworth.
A police spokeswoman said rural mounted patrols would look out for anything suspicious and report back to the police control room.
She added: “At first glance, the rural mounted patrols look like any other horserider out for a casual hack. But on closer inspection, their high visibility branded jackets and protective clothing for the horses, incorporating the recognisable blue and silver diced branding, identify them as part of the team.
Hampshire Horsewatch’s aims and objectives are directed towards crime prevention in an attempt to reduce and deter the many thieves who target equine equipment.
It is community-led and works in partnership with Hampshire Constabulary through its equine liaison officer scheme.
“Members of Hampshire Horsewatch becoming police volunteers enhance that partnership,” said David Collings, Hampshire Horsewatch co-ordinator and force equine liaison officer for Hampshire Constabulary.
“With the reduction of funding being experienced within the police service there is a need to be as dynamic and imaginative as we can to cover rural policing in Hampshire.”
Chief Inspector Simon Dodds said: “Having police volunteers on horseback is an exciting development in how rural areas of the force are patrolled. Working in partnership with rural neighbourhood teams, the riders will help combat crime in some of our more isolated communities.”
Members of the Hampshire Horsewatch scheme have joined forces with Hampshire Constabulary in the latest drive to tackle rural crime.
Patrolling in the Emsworth area will be Vanessa Dowling, Rebecca Dowling and Serena Hill.
In a statement released by Hampshire Constabulary, the trio said: “When our horses are out patrolling the lanes, bridleways and forests, we are able to get to areas that cannot be easily reached by car.
“We are a highly visual presence in the rural landscape and are trained to see and recognise things that might be unusual and out of the ordinary, or detrimental to other users – be it human or animal.
“It’s all about helping the rural police on difficult terrains, and putting something back into the community where we live and the countryside that we love.”