Bedfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway is calling on the county's horse owners to sign up to a new scheme to help police the countryside.
The new project - Horse Watch - will provide riders with training and distinctive branded clothing, provided by The British Horse Society, and organise equestrian patrols of areas which police find difficult to access, based on current crime reports for their local areas.
“Horse Watch is a fantastic idea to join forces with communities in the countryside to work with Bedfordshire Police,” said Commissioner Holloway.
"Horse riders are in a unique position to be able to go off-road to locations that police vehicles can’t get to and alert the Force to fly-tipping, off-road biking and anti-social behaviour.
“Because riders can get to out of the way locations of the type fly-tippers use and where motorcycles and quad bikes cause irreparable damage to crops, members of Horse Watch will be our eyes and ears on the bridal pathways of Bedfordshire,” she said.
Some 15 volunteers have already signed up to the scheme before its formal launch. They will receive monthly reports on crime in their area and work with Juliet Wright, the Head of the Watches for Bedfordshire Police, to direct patrols as a deterrent in these areas. They will receive training from the Force and will need to be vetted.
PCSO Juliet Wright said, “I am delighted to have the backing of the British Horse Society and to have already signed up 15 volunteers.
“Horse Watch will be a great addition to all of the watches who support Bedfordshire Police such as Speed Watch, Street Watch, Neighbourhood Watch and Dog Watch, now involving those riding in the county as well as those out and about walking their dogs.”
Any rider interested in joining the scheme should apply to the following email address; email@example.com