Northampton

Rural crime in Northamptonshire tackled by volunteer horseriders

Insp Julie Mead, horseback volunteer Hilda Miller and PCSO Natasha Fountain on Cody Image copyright Nhants Police
Image caption Insp Julie Mead, horseback volunteer Hilda Miller and PCSO Natasha Fountain on Cody

Volunteers on horseback will help police tackle rural crime by patrolling the countryside in Northamptonshire.

More than 50 people have signed up to the scheme after being given road safety training by the British Horse Society.

The riders are being given high visibility jackets with a logo identifying them as police volunteers.

Northamptonshire Police said they will be "an extra set of eyes and ears" and will not confront lawbreakers.

It is hoped the initiative will have an impact on speeding motorists, who might be encouraged to slow down if they see uniformed riders.

'Good results'

The volunteers provide their own horses and will be given out-of-pocket expenses by the force.

They will not be given patrol routes. Instead police said they will be asked "to keep an eye out" for problems as they ride along the county's lanes and bridleways.

Image caption Other forces, including Norfolk Police, have introduced mounted patrols

Northamptonshire Police has also introduced its first mounted Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).

Tash Fountain will patrol on her own horse, Cody.

Other police forces in England have introduced similar schemes.

Norfolk Police reintroduced mounted patrols in 2012.

Special constable Richard Tallent, who manages Norfolk's specials on horseback unit, said: "Every year, we're carrying out around two patrols a week, which translates as 100 hours of work.

"We've already seen some good results with fly-tipping, drink driving, drug and anti-social behaviour convictions thanks to the work of the unit."

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