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 within 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 shift 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 supported and funded by Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch and NFU.
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.
Amanda Wallbank, NFU Appleby Group Secretary said: “NFU Appleby are pleased to provide support for 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.
“Sadly, we continue to see Rural Crime continuing, with criminals seeing the rural community as easy targets. With large rural areas and low police numbers we have to look at ways to get extra eyes and ears into the community and be able to spot the unusual or suspicious activity.
“Rural crime and thefts can have serious consequences for farmers so it is important that we continue to look at ways to help the police.
“The Mounted Volunteers know their local area and what or who is out of place so they can work alongside the police and our existing Country Watch Eden volunteers and members.”
Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall added: “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.”