Hertfordshire Police is taking an innovative approach to rural crime by asking gamekeepers, riders and local people to sign up as ‘rural special constables’.

The force is thought to be the first to encourage ‘specials’ to use horses to patrol villages, hamlets and farms. Last week, Kate Solomon, with her horse Frankie, was one of 14 recruits starting patrols.

‘Rural crime is on the increase, but it hasn’t been high on the priority list until recently,’ says Mrs Solomon, who has been a special constable for more than three years. ‘We will be a visible police presence, able to get to places that a patrol car can’t reach.’

Rural special constables, like urban specials, are volunteers, but have full police powers. They will be required to serve at least 16 hours a month and will receive expenses. The force aims to have 30 rural
special constables in place by January. Anyone in good general health who has an interest or lives in a rural community can apply (0800 358 3990; www.hertspolicecareers.co.uk/rural).

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