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Equine rangers are relaunched

Equine rangers are relaunched

A dedicated team of equine rangers have been relaunched by Sussex Police and partners to help tackle a rise in rural crime.

The Sussex Equine Rangers now have 14 volunteers who will be tackling rural crime and anti-social behaviour in collaboration with Sussex Police’s newly-formed Rural Crime Team.

The team of specially trained horse riders have swung back into action to help combat the rise in rural crime during lockdown and beyond. The team was originally launched in 2015 as a pilot project.

Rural crime has risen in the last six months by 20 per cent, increasing from 429 incidents recorded in January 2020 to 533 in June. Burglary, theft of equipment and fly tipping are some of the offences affecting communities.

A new rural crime team made up of two sergeants, eight constables and six police community support officers (PCSOs) was launched in June. In two months, they patrolled over 10,000 miles of rural roads in Sussex and made 181 intelligence logs. They have also successfully executed several warrants including the recovery of stolen, culturally significant historic items.

However, there are areas that cannot currently be easily accessed by these police officers on foot or in 4×4 vehicles. The new team of Equine Rangers will support the police by reaching areas like the South Downs National Park and increase vigilance by being able to see over hedges, into gardens, ride along bridleways and through wooded and more remote areas. The riders will patrol on their own horses over various areas, acting as eyes and ears for the police. Every volunteer has been supplied with an application on their phones to facilitate quick reporting and information sharing.

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police Crime Commissioner, said: “I’m delighted to be able to help fund this innovative crime prevention scheme in Sussex.

“Since the Covid-19 lockdown, there have been many disturbing reports of fly-tipping and expensive equipment theft as well as other crimes affecting the countryside such as hare coursing and poaching. I want to reassure our rural residents that these crimes will not be ignored, and we are investing in better protecting them and their livelihoods.”