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Yorkshire Dales volunteers work alongside police to keep rural communities safe

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Dedicated volunteers have taken to the roads and fields around a Yorkshire Dales beauty spot for the first time to help keep their community safe.

Yorkshire Dales volunteers work alongside police to keep rural communities safe

More than a dozen volunteers joined North Yorkshire Police officers and PCSOs, keeping a watchful eye out across Wharfedale on the evening of Wednesday 1 May 2019 – the first operation for the newly-formed Grassington Mobile Rural Watch scheme.

The Mobile Rural Watch volunteers – made up of local farmers and residents – had a steady shift working with officers, with a number of vehicles stopped and checked to ensure they were in order.

One Watch member spotted some poor driving by a vehicle. Following police checks, it was established that the driver, an 18-year-old, had already been issued with a Section 59 warning for his manner of driving. Officers contacted his parents straight away, who agreed to cancel his insurance policy to stop him driving as a result.

Local PCSO Emily Hewitson said the Mobile Rural Watch operation had been “a great success”, with volunteers keen to arrange another one soon.

Inspector Lorraine Crossman-Smith said: “The support provided by our Mobile Rural Watch volunteers is an invaluable part of policing here in Craven.

“With their local knowledge, we are better able to provide an effective policing service across hundreds of square miles, gathering intelligence and directing officers to key points of interest and suspicious activity.

“I’m extremely grateful for the efforts of the Grassington volunteers, and wish well as they plan further operations and develop their scheme.”

Mobile Rural Watch schemes operate across the North Yorkshire countryside. Volunteers use their own vehicles, and are equipped with police radios so they can communicate with officers. By drawing on the expert local knowledge of the volunteers, any suspicious activity or vehicles can be checked out in real time.

Watch schemes are supported by North Yorkshire Police’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs), and its Rural Taskforce. The Taskforce works closely with local groups and individuals to identify and solve issues of concern to rural communities. They gather and intelligence about those who target or commit offences in rural areas, take part in proactive operations to disrupt offenders, and, alongside NPTs, provide a visible presence in rural villages and towns and villages.

To find out more about Rural Watch schemes in North Yorkshire, contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team, or Rural Taskforce officer, by dialling 101.

Last modified: May 3, 2019