Special constables on horseback are now patrolling rural areas of Norfolk, England, in a bid to bring crime down.
After months of working together with World Horse Welfare, three specials and a police community support officer from Norfolk Constabulary began their first horseback patrols last weekend.
Two World Horse Welfare staff members assessed the officers in February at its Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Snetterton, Norfolk.
World Horse Welfare field officer Jacko Jackson and Hall Farm assistant centre manager Justina Smith carried out the assessments, which involved the officers undertaking a competency test to ensure their suitability to perform the role, and their own horses were also assessed.
Jackson said: “We were really pleased with how the assessments went and the final outcome. They all achieved the required level of competence and we hope that the officers will now go on to be a real asset to the Constabulary.
“Re-introducing officers on horseback is a positive move as it allows them to be seen in areas of the countryside where they traditionally may have not been seen.
“The horses can also be a magnet for people wanting to come and speak with you which could potentially lead to the disclosure of important information about crime in the area.”
The aim of the new mounted officers is to help tackle rural crime in the county and will be used as part of Norfolk Constabulary’s successful Operation Randall.
Temporary Chief Superintendent Nick Dean, who leads the operation, said: “The scheme will make a real difference as the mounted specials will offer a visible yet reassuring presence in the local communities where they will be patrolling.
“There is also no additional cost to the Constabulary as the specials would be using their own horses.”
The patrols began on Sunday, with three officers on horseback covering the South Norfolk area and one officer covering the North Norfolk area.
It is hoped, if successful, the initiative will be extended to other areas of the county.
The Norfolk scheme follows the success of specials on horseback in Hertfordshire which began in October 2009.
World Horse Welfare field officer Nick White, who was a former mounted police officer and instructor from the Metropolitan Police, carried out the competency assessments of the four rural specials more than two years ago.