Hampshire police election candidate calls for volunteer horseback force called 'Equine Rangers'

A CANDIDATE for police and crime commissioner has said she would set up a volunteer equine ranger force to tackle rural crime.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 8:43 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 11:50 am

Conservative Donna Jones wants volunteers on horseback to be the ‘eyes and ears of the police’ in less populated areas of Hampshire.

An opposing candidate has called the idea an ‘empty gimmick’ and said he was unimpressed by the plan.

The idea comes from the Sussex Equine Rangers launch in August last year, with volunteers on horses helping police. It cost police £4,000 to fund following a pilot in 2015.

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File photo of TVP police horse Luna was punched after the Pompey v Saints match on September 24 in 2019. Picture: Thames Valley Police

The plan to spread this to Hampshire comes ahead of the crime commissioner election in May.

Councillor Jones, ward member for Hilsea at Portsmouth City Council, will face Lib Dem Richard Murphy and Labour’s Tony Bunday in the May election.

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Incumbent Michael Lane will not stand again having lost the backing of his party before the pandemic.

On the Equine Rangers plan, Cllr Jones said: ‘People living outside major towns and cities sometimes feel ignored by the police. Crimes occur in their villages and on their farms, yet too often nothing is done about it.

‘There will never be a police officer in every village, but by working with volunteers, we can make real progress in the fight against the anti-social behaviour and criminality that can blight rural areas.’

Lib Dem Mr Murphy said: ‘People should see this for what it it is, an empty gimmick to cover up the Conservatives lack of support for Hampshire policing, including in rural areas.’

Labour’s Mr Bunday added any ideas should be looked at as Hampshire is among the worst funded forces. He said: ‘Sussex deem this to have had some success and it should be considered here.

‘I am all for stealing good initiatives and all police volunteers do very valuable support work However, properly funding core police services is the most important priority.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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