Jockeys were not the only people riding horses at Fakenham Racecourse today.

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Members of Norfolk Constabulary’s Rural Specials on Horseback Unit attended the race meeting to raise awareness of a rural crime initiative and encourage people to become specials.

Norfolk Police is looking to expand its specials on horseback unit, which was established in the county in April.

There are currently five specials in the unit.

The scheme has been regarded a success in providing a visible presence in rural parts of Norfolk.

It has been a key part of Norfolk Constabulary’s ongoing Operation Randall, which was also promoted at Fakenham Racecourse today.

Operation Randall is a partnership that has been running since October 2010 between police and senior rural and agricultural representatives to tackle prominent crimes in rural areas, including theft of scrap metal, farm machinery, animal stock and fuel.

Chief superintendent Nick Dean, who has been leading Operation Randall, said: “The use of the specials on horseback scheme has provided us with a visible yet reassuring presence in the local communities where they patrol.

“In terms of Operational Randall, it gives us another tool to obtain information and intelligence received from rural communities to help us be more effective and pro-active in enforcement and prevention of crime.

“I’d like to re-iterate our gratitude for the support given by our partners in the farming community. It should be pointed out that there is also no additional cost to the constabulary as the specials use their own horses.”

Assistant chief constable Gareth Wilson, who was at Fakenham Racecourse today, said: “The main reasons we are here are to seek people who would be interested in becoming a special and in particular people who own their own horses and want to be part of the specials on horseback unit, to raise awareness of rural crime prevention methods and to seek sponsorship from people prepared to help us fund extra specials.

“We saw Fakenham Racecourse as a good place to connect with people from rural communities and there has been a lot of interest.”

Chief officer of Norfolk’s Special Constabulary Malcolm Pearson said: “There are now 320 specials in Norfolk. That has gone up from about 230 in the space of three years and specials are having an increasingly important role to play.

“It is a back to basics approach with local people policing their own communities.

“It is very rewarding to help your local community and people gain skills from being a special that they can use in other aspects of their life.”

For further information about becoming a special, contact Sue Goode by calling 101 and asking for Special Constabulary or download an application pack request form and email it to stepspecials@norfolk.pnn.police.uk

Rural householders and farmers are encouraged to sign up to Norfolk Constabulary’s Police Direct news service, to receive free updates by about crimes, security advice and notable arrests in their area.

Go to www.norfolk.police.uk and tick the box marked ‘agricultural’ interest.

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