Saddling up to tackle law-breakers in Hertfordshire

TAKING a leaf out of the Canadian Mounties book is Hertfordshire Constabulary – it is putting bobbies on the beat on horseback. The role of rural special constables, which has been created to support the county s rural and farming communities, was launch

TAKING a leaf out of the Canadian Mounties' book is Hertfordshire Constabulary - it is putting bobbies on the beat on horseback.

The role of rural special constables, which has been created to support the county's rural and farming communities, was launched today (Tuesday).

Hertfordshire is one of the first forces in the UK to introduce these volunteers with police powers dedicated to rural areas and they will have the option of using their own horses as a mode of transport - which is a national first for Hertfordshire.

Assistant Chief Constable Heather Valentine said: "We are utilising the skills and experience of people within the community - gamekeepers, horse riders and other rural residents - to perform the specialised rural special constable role.


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"We believe we are the first force in the UK to create this opportunity for rural special constables to use horseback as a mode of transport - and we are probably the first force in the UK to have defined the role to make it dedicated to rural areas."

She continued: "This has come about because we have listened to our rural communities - some of who have been reluctant to report crimes because of a perception that they will not be investigated - and we want to show that we are committed to deal with their issues of concern and offer a reassuring presence.

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"We hope it will link farmers and gamekeepers with the police and improve relationships so we can work together to reduce crime."

Inspector George Holland, who played a key role in implementing the initiative, said: "Our rural special constables will have full police powers as volunteer officers and will therefore be able to deal with any incidents affecting the rural community, for example flytipping, theft of machinery and equine equipment. As well as helping to detect crime, they will be a visible deterrent and offer a reassuring presence to the rural community."

He added: "Most of all, we anticipate that it will provide a genuinely better service to rural people and boost their confidence that the police really do care and are dealing with issues that matter to them."

There are 14 existing special constables who have received extra training and are about to become rural special constables. By the New Year, it is hoped to have 30 officers in post.

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