Constabulary trial mounted volunteers to support tackling crime
Cumbria Constabulary’s citizens in policing team are trialling mounted volunteers to support policing within Cumbria’s rural communities.
Cumbria is a predominately rural county, and the mounted volunteers will support police officers to deter, provide crime prevention advice on rural crime and build relationships withing their community.
Six volunteers have been introduced in the Eden area with some of the volunteers being based in Appleby, Alston and Upper Eden.
The volunteers are being launched as part of Road Safety week (Nov 14) with the volunteers spending their first shifts supporting the force’s road safety campaign.
The volunteers have all met a specific riding ability and have the ride safe challenge award.
The volunteers will work alongside police officers by gathering on-the-ground intelligence, reporting suspicious incidents, and providing advice to people on how to report incidents to the police. They will carry out this during daylight hours and will provide a visible presence within the community.
The volunteer’s equipment is being funded by Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch and NFU.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall said: “Cumbria is a rural county and criminals target these rural areas with the hope that they are more vulnerable, and I know that this is a real concern for people living in more isolated areas.
“This is a great new initiative, as the horse riders have local understanding of the rural areas they ride around and in partnership with the police, can keep local officers updated on any problems they may come across.
“The scheme will help to provide up-to-date feedback to the police, as the volunteers are able to identify and report any unusual or suspicious behaviour.
“I am confident that our new mounted volunteer recruits will find their role rewarding and it’s only by working together, we can help keep our rural communities safe.”
Sergeant Tamara Tatton from Cumbria Constabulary’s Citizen in Policing team said: “The mounted volunteers will help support police officers to tackle rural crime by providing additional eyes and ears within the community reporting suspicious vehicles, looking out for signs of wildlife crime and driving offences.
“The volunteers will patrol on their own horses in areas local to them and help us to reach rural areas which officers may not be able to reach with vehicles other than on foot.
“Being local to the community they will already have established a relationship with the local community and help us identify areas where crime prevention advice may be needed.
The riders will also get an annual visit from a volunteer from the British Horse Society to check on the horse’s welfare.
Some of the volunteers have commented on their involvement in the trail saying:
“Myself and my horse are looking forward to our role in the community to help reduce rural crime.”
“I find, when I am out and about in my local area on my pony, members of the local community chat to me; neighbours often come out of their houses to offer my pony carrots. I think it’s great that I’ll have the opportunity to build on these relationships and provide a link to the police force and so help protect my local community from rural crime.”
Amanda Wallbank, Senior agent for NFU Appleby said: “The NFU Appleby are pleased to provide support the Mounted Police Volunteers trial in our area of Eden. They are another set of eyes and ears in our fight against rural crime working alongside our existing Country Watch Eden Volunteers.”
Joe Murray QPM, Chair of Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch Association said: “Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch Association are delighted to support this initiative. Rural Crime continues to be a problem with serious consequences for farmers beyond the loss of expensive machinery and equipment.
“This project is yet another excellent piece of work that reflects well on members of our community who are using each and any means by which they can work in partnership with Cumbria Police to impact on Rural Crime. This presents an opportunity to prevent and reduce crime and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”