With two thirds of Essex being classed as rural and with over 14,000 listed buildings, monuments or other heritage assets within the county, Essex Police has the task of policing these often quieter locations as well as the busy urban areas.
Horse riders have the unique ability to see over hedges and go where the usual patrol cars cannot. As well as narrow country lanes, horse riders have access to the countryside via bridleways, byways and private land with permission of the landowners.
Complete the expression of interest form to sign up:
The Essex Horse Rider Volunteer (EHRV) scheme is aimed at utilising horse riders to be our extra eyes and ears in the countryside and report any suspicious activity or crimes to the Police as soon as possible.
Examples of your help with these crimes could be spotting signs of unlawful digging or damage at a historic site (inc. isolated churches), a stolen agricultural machine hidden up in woodland, or even signs of wildlife crime such as hare coursing in progress.
We encourage everyone who joins the Essex Horse Rider Volunteer scheme to report any suspicious activity or behaviour you see.
How does the scheme work?
You do not have to own your own horse but can use a horse if you have permission of the owner and the usual appropriate personal and public insurance for riding.
By completing and returning the attached expression of interest form, you will be invited to an introduction session which will provide some basic knowledge of the types of things to look out for and how they can be reported to Essex Police. This introduction can take place either in person or online.
If you feel that you can help, we will arrange a visit to check your horse is fit and healthy and check on your insurance. You will then be asked to confirm your membership of the EHRV scheme and be provided with a fluorescent Horse Rider Volunteer Tabard to wear if you wish.
As a member of the EHRV scheme you will be added to the Essex Watch database to receive two weekly reports from the Essex Watch Liaison Officers one regarding crimes relating to heritage assets and another relating to rural areas. This is to update you with the types of crimes happening in your area and around the county, and help you look out for similar crimes or related matters, which you may come across during your rides.
As a volunteer it is up to you how many rides you undertake for us. However, in order to help us evaluate the scheme, we ask that a very brief return is completed and forwarded to us after each ride.
There is no commitment to join at this stage, but you can express your interest in joining by completing the form below.
How to report incidents to Essex Police
Don't confront any suspects
Don't put yourself at risk from harm
For crimes in progress now or if life is in danger, always call 999.
*What3Words is a free smartphone app and website that uses a combination of three unique words to pinpoint your location anywhere in the world. Visit what3words.com for more details.
Heritage and rural crime
Heritage Crime is any offence which harms heritage assets and their settings. Putting right the damage caused to heritage and faith assets is expensive and the cost to communities can be enormous, not to mention the loss of historical artefacts which can lead to the loss of our heritage forever.
Criminal damage / graffiti
Unauthorised metal detecting
Theft of historical artefacts
Rural Crime can mean any type of crime that occurs in a rural location or where the victim is specifically targeted because of their connection to or involvement in the rural community, economy, or area. Essex Police recognise that certain offences can have a unique and significant impact in rural areas.
Crimes affecting farm equipment or livestock
Crimes against small rural businesses
Wildlife Crime such as Hare Coursing or Badger Baiting