neighbourhood policing by Thames Valley Policeword cloud showing neighbourhood policing prioritiesprotect valuables noticespeed monitoring by Thames Valley Policeflytipping photographed by Thames Valley Policedrugs seized by Thames Valley Policerural policing by Thames Valley Police

Rural Spotters Scheme launched

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

Thames Valley Police has launched a new team of volunteer rural crime spotters in Chiltern and South Bucks.

More on Rural Crime – one of 22 Priorities in our quarterly surveys

Thames Valley Rural Spotter volunteerThe volunteers are all horse riders who will engage with the rural community whilst out on their normal hacking route and assist in rural and equine crime prevention. The role is voluntary and has no police powers attached. The role builds on the work of the Thames Valley Horse Watch network which brings local horse owners, riders and equestrian workers together with their local police team.

Who can be a Rural Spotter?

  • Riders must pass the application process.
  • A short training course must be attended by all candidates.
  • Riders must be over 18 years of age.
  • Riders must have their own horse.
  • All riders must carry their own personal liability insurance.
  • Riders must demonstrate a level of competence on and off road.
  • Riders must have their own transport.
  • Riders must not have a criminal record.
  • Riders must have safe equipment and be well presented.

Reporting Suspicious Activity

The volunteers will report any suspicious activity, including fly tipping, unauthorised off road biking and hare coursing to the NFU Rural Crime Reporting line on a free phone number 0800 7830137. This should have a shorter wait rather than 101 and is run by Crime Stoppers. Reports can also be made via the Rural Crime Reporting Line. This is run by the National Farmers Union in conjunction with Crimestoppers and supported by the Police. This national, anonymous reporting system allows offences and activity to be directed to the correct agency. For example, fly-tipping is dealt with by the local authority. Where a crime is in progress, spotters will report this directly to the police.

Signing Up

For further details please email Helen Evans, Thames Valley Police Equine Liaison Volunteer.

More Information

The rural crime spotters initiative was the vision of Helen Evans. She said: “Within the equine community we have an untapped source of people who are able to act as the eyes and ears of the police in rural areas. Recognising this, and researching other schemes run by police forces across the country, I devised the rural spotters scheme. Riders have the unique ability to go to fairly inaccessible places and have the advantage of height to see over hedges. My hope is that the scheme will make the countryside a safer place for all.”

Neighbourhood Sergeant Darren Walsh said: “I am pleased that as part of national volunteers’ week, we can highlight the work we have undertaken with Helen and our local community to develop the Rural Spotters initiative. This scheme has the potential for horse riders to make our rural communities safer whilst on their regular rides. Those who live and work in these areas are best placed to know when something seems suspicious. By working together with the riding community, we can make criminals think twice, and deter and detect crime.”

Berks, Bucks and Oxon NFU Chairman Jeff Powell said: “The NFU is delighted that Thames Valley Police is working with rural communities in launching this ingenious initiative to harness the eyes and ears of mounted volunteers in the fight against rural crime. Rural Spotters on horseback will be well placed to report any unusual or suspicious behaviour in the Buckinghamshire countryside and then log this anonymously through the NFU’s Rural Crime Reporting Line, run in partnership with Crimestoppers. The Rural Crime Reporting Line is a key part of the NFU’s ongoing work to tackle rural criminal behaviour on farms and in the wider countryside.”

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber said: “The support that volunteers give to the police is vital to keep our communities safe. We all have a responsibility to report crime and suspicious activity and it is great to recognise the work of these rural crime spotters in assisting the work of Thames Valley Police across the countryside.”

Rural Crime Reporting Line

poster advertising Rural Crime Reporting LineBy ringing 0800 783 0137 or visiting www.ruralcrimereportingline.uk, farmers, rural businesses and the public can anonymously give information about crime relating to:

  • large-scale, industrial fly-tipping
  • hare coursing
  • machinery theft
  • livestock theft

Thames Valley Horse Watch

Thames Valley Horse Watch ScreenshotThames Valley Horse Watch connects horse owners and riders to improve security and communication. Members do not have to own a horse, the scheme welcomes everyone, whether they are an occasional rider, own a yard or just want to assist the community.

Members receive information on security, tack marking, shows, events as well as messages through the Alert system about recent crimes, details of stolen property or suspicious persons and vehicles. Horse Watch is run solely for the benefit of its members.

Other Recent Posts

The Importance of REPORTING Crime and Bad Behaviour

WHY it is important to report crime and concerns: we can do more to help focus Policing support and attention on our own locality, and even help in the fight against broader crime.     Read More...

CESAR discounts to help protect from Rural Crime

The CESAR scheme seeks to deter theft and aid recovery of vehicles and equipment. Till end-2020 it is offering significant discounts to residents of the Thames Valley Police area    Read More...

Listen to Boycie: fight Fly Tipping

Coinciding with launch of TV ad campaign by Clearwaste, here are ways in which residents can help fight Fly Tipping, and protect themselves.     Read More...

Accessing Community Board Funding for the Safety of our Community

How the determination of a local resident accessed funding and resulted in the deployment of an important crime-fighting ANPR device.     Read More...

Buckinghamshire Community Safety Newsletter August 2020

Buckinghamshire Community Safety activities and notices including Anti-Social Behaviour. Coronavirus information, Catalytic Converter Theft, Rural Crime, Keyless Vehicle Theft, Friends Against Scams    Read More...

‘Rule of 6’ effective September 14th

Explanation from Thames Valley Police on its approach to policing the ‘Rule of 6’. Includes an appeal for all residents to take personal responsibility.    Read More...

Community Boards taking shape

Your local Community Board has set its initial priorities, and each will be meeting this month. How can residents get involved, and help improve their local area?    Read More...