Mounted special constables set to provide a reassuring, high visibility police presence south of Norwich by end of next month

Mounted special constables could be providing a high visibility presence in countryside just south of Norwich from the end of next month, it has emerged.

Police chiefs in the county are keen to increase visibility and public reassurance in rural areas by bringing in mounted specials which have proved so successful in Hertfordshire since they were launched in 2009.

At least five Norfolk specials who own horses have indicated they are willing to take part in the initiative which could be launched initially in parts of south Norfolk, including Wymondham.

Temporary Chief Supt Nick Dean, who leads Norfolk's highly successful Operation Randall initiative aimed at tackling rural crime with the help and support of members of the agricultural community, said the force was just waiting for confirmation about insurance cover – for officers and the horses – in event of injury.

Mr Dean, who is 'pretty confident' about overcoming insurance problems, said the final hurdle will then be an assessment for riders and horses next month.

He said: 'We're doing the assessment at the World Horse Welfare Centre at Snetterton on February 19 and then all we need is the kit.

'Then we can get it up and running just south of Norwich, which is where most of the horses are stabled.'

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The proposals received 'quite positive' feedback at a presentation Mr Dean gave to members of the agricultural community in the Dereham area this month, particularly in terms of issues like fly-tipping.

And it was issues that and other 'low level anti social behaviour' where Mr Dean, who is head of the county's policing command, said the horses would come into their own.

He said: 'It's not about tackling organised criminals or public order, it's the stuff that really affects people's quality of life as well as confidence around visibility.'

It is hopes the presence of horses in the countryside would also encourage greater interaction with members of the public, many of whom might stop to talk to the riders and provide information or intelligence.

Plans to launch a scheme in Norfolk have gathered momentum since officers from Hertfordshire, the first force in the country to use mounted specials, gave a presentation at Wymondham police headquarters last year.

What do you think about plans to utilise mounted specials in Norfolk? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email