Police are turning to volunteers on horseback in a bid to crack down on rural crime in Lancashire.
Horse owners who are willing to become the “eyes and ears” of the police are being sought by Lancashire Constabulary in the Ribble Valley as rural crime is one of the neighbourhood policing priorities being tackled in the area.
An advertisement for Rural Mounted Volunteers has gone on the website as part of the initiative in partnership with Ribble Valley Community Safety Partnership, Lancashire Partnership Against Crime and the British Horse Society.
PSCO Di Bioletti of Clitheroe Police said the volunteers would provide a visible and approachable presence and a link between the police and rural community.
She said: “Mounted volunteers can help to provide a positive link between the police and rural community. Riders will be asked to observe and report but they will never be asked to deal with incidents or do anything which may put themselves or their horse at risk.
“The riders will be trained in what to look out for and will be kitted out with high-vis gear for themselves and their horse. Riders will also be trained and assessed in riding and road safety by the British Horse Society.”
As horse riders hack out in isolated, hard to access rural areas they have an elevated position from which to observe things that cannot be seen on foot or from a car. They can see over hedges, walls, into fields and farm buildings and gardens.
PCSO Bioletti said: “They are in a position to identify areas where crime prevention advice may be required and they will become part of the rural community, a network where most people know each other and in many cases provide each other with support and assistance.”
It is hoped the scheme will improve confidence among the rural community and visitors to the Ribble Valley as it will reduce the opportunity for crime by increasing crime prevention awareness.
All volunteers must be aged 18 or over and own a quiet, sensible horse. They must be able to ride safely on the highway, open land, bridleways and control the horse sufficiently to be able to use a notebook while mounted. Riders will be trained and assessed in Riding and Road Safety by the British Horse Society and they will have to pass a certificate. Anyone interested in the scheme can get more information from PCSO Biloetti at Clitheroe Police Station or go to ribblevalley.NPT@lancashire.pnn.police.uk