The Newark and Sherwood equine community is helping to keep rural areas safer thanks to a new ‘mounted’ initiative designed to crack down on rural and equine-related crime.
Celebrating the launch of Horse Watch yesterday (Wednesday, August 2), Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said that it was fantastic to see the equestrian community helping to keep rural communities safer.
Horse Watch is a volunteer scheme, similar to Neighbourhood Watch. Members will share information about any suspicious activity or issues that concern them as well as alerting the police and partners to issues such as fly tipping, fly grazing and illegal off-road biking.
There are head-cams available to those wishing to wear one enabling riders to capture information on video if they see something suspicious when they are out and about on their horses.
Members of the volunteer scheme will share their information with police and partner agencies to help strengthen relationships within rural communities.
Inspector for the Newark and Sherwood area, Louise Clarke, has led the project.
She said: “Horse Watch members will not intervene in any incidents nor or be asked to address any particular policing problem. In fact, they will not be doing anything beyond their normal riding behaviour and activities and reporting to the police if they see something that they feel is suspicious.”
It is also hoped that the scheme will promote road safety in rural areas, prompting drivers to slow down, particularly when they are passing horses.
It will work in a similar way to Neighbourhood Watch schemes - where increased vigilance and communication helps to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of crime.
While Horse Watch is initially being launched in the Newark and Sherwood area, it is hoped that the scheme can be extended across the whole Nottinghamshire Police Force area once it is established.
Already the Nottinghamshire Horse Watch Facebook page has more 1,700 followers.
Mr Tipping said: “This is a great way that people can help us simply by letting us know if they see something out of the ordinary as they go about their everyday lives. It’s a positive step and I’m pleased to support it.
“The members of Horse Watch will provide some ‘eyes and ears’ information, not purely in relation to their horses, ponies and equipment but rural crime in general.
“This will then help us use our rural officers wisely and to best effect.
“I’m really grateful to everyone who has signed up to this scheme in Nottinghamshire and hope that many more will join them. I’m determined that we do everything we can to tackle crime in rural villages and the more remote areas of the countryside.”
Insp Clarke added: “With Horse Watch we’re aiming to strengthen relationships with our rural communities so that we can better understand the issues that cause them the most concern and take action to address them.
“The scheme will keep its members informed about rural and equine crime that has taken place, helping other members to protect themselves against similar offences.
“Similar schemes have been very successful. We aim to emulate that success.”
For more information about the scheme visit the Nottinghamshire Police Horse Watch Facebook page or www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/site-page/horse-watch. You can also follow @NottsPoliceHorseWatch.