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How horses are helping Surrey Police tackle rural crime

How horses are helping Surrey Police tackle rural crime

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Rebecca Curley at 3:42pm 15th August 2019.

Crime-fighting horses have recorded a successful few months snaring people breaking the law and committing traffic offences.

Over £2,000 in fines have been handed out and one suspect was eventually charged and later pleaded guilty to offences against animals.

This is the success of Surrey Police’s new mounted section – police officers on horseback.

Officers have been trained to ride for the new mounted section which has already carried out one operation targeting rural communities. 

As well as being able to get across fields and rural roads better than cars, the horses have also been out and about around the county to boost engagement with police. 

Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said the horses are part of a drive to boost police presence in villages and harder to reach areas around the county.

Two dedicated rural and wildlife crime officers have been recruited and one PCSO per borough is being trained in specialising in rural crime, a meeting heard.

Police Horses

Speaking at the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner’s performance meeting on Tuesday, chief constable Stephens said the mounted section was proving very popular at events and in communities. 

Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said:

“This is not a mounted section for public order. This is a mounted section that can do engagement work, prevention work and some search capabilities. 

“It’s proved very popular at some of our engagement events at some of the rural locations. You can get to places on a horse better than you can on some of our off-road Land Rovers. 

“Some good results and a very positive step in the right direction to supporting our rural communities.”

The horses are not police horses but animals that have been assessed as being safe to use for the rural job roles.

One operation in May led to over £2,000 in fines being handed out for offences connected to the use of red diesel, waste carrier licences, vehicles stopped with links to rural crimes, mobiles phones being used and vehicles not being roadworthy. 

On the last day of Operation Dragnet, one suspect was charged for offences against animals and public order in a rural community. 

Chief con Stephens said perception of how they were tackling rural crime had made people feel they were being left out. 

He added: “People in rural communities were feeling we weren’t there for them. This allows us to get to the right places and the right communities.”

Police Horses
The animals were used at this year's Epsom Derby.

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