Horse owners encouraged to join 'Horse Watch' scheme

Horse owners from across the county are being encouraged to sign up to a scheme which will help make them less vulnerable to equine crime.

‘Horse Watch’ is a Dorset Police scheme that works in a similar way to Home Watch and Neighbourhood Watch schemes – where increased vigilance and communication helps to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of crime.

There are currently over 350 Horse Watch members in Dorset, with local Horse Watch co-ordinators available to support and assist all members.

Horse Watch members share information about suspicious incidents, attempted thefts and criminal activity so that scheme members across the county receive descriptions of equine crime suspects and criminal techniques that are being used.

Members of Horse Watch are registered onto the Force’s community messaging system, where they receive relevant crime prevention advice and information.

The Horse Watch scheme also provides the opportunity for its members to mark their equine equipment at tack marking sessions. Marking this valuable equipment makes it less likely to be stolen by thieves, while ensuring it is more likely to be recovered if it is stolen.

Scats Countrystores support the scheme and have provided weatherproof signs for Horse Watch members to display on outbuildings which show potential thieves that they are members of Dorset Police’s Horse Watch scheme.

Members of the public attending the Dorset County Show in Dorchester on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 September 2010 will be able to get more information on the Horse Watch scheme by visiting the Scats Countrystores tradestand at the event.

Police Constable Jane Brittain is the Force’s Horse Watch lead. She said: “Horse Watch is a great initiative that offers security and crime prevention advice to horse owners across Dorset.

“Equine crime isn’t just about financial loss, the emotional pain suffered when a treasured horse is stolen, or when equipment is taken, can be devastating.

“The Horse Watch scheme keeps its members informed about horse related crime that has taken place across the county. This helps other members to protect themselves against similar offences.

“We also organise tack marking sessions so that horse owners can mark their equipment and all of our members are registered onto the Dorset Police community messaging system.

“Anyone interested in joining the Horse Watch scheme should visit the Watch Schemes page on the Dorset Police website, where they can fill in an electronic expression of interest form.”

For more information about the scheme, please visit the dedicated Horse Watch webpage under the Crime Prevention section of the Dorset Police website.

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