Equine Patrols Trot Out Across Three Rivers

8 May 2014, 06:00

An innovative scheme which has already been a great success in St Albans has now been launched in Three Rivers.

Community Horse Patrols (ChiPS) are Hertfordshire’s resourceful solution to the problem of fly-tipping and other anti-social behaviour.

The scheme involves enlisting volunteer horse-riders to act as the ‘eyes and ears’ of Hertfordshire, looking out for anti-social behaviour and incidents while out riding and reporting anything suspicious that they spot.

The scheme has been very successful, with incidents of fly–tipping reducing from 2-3 per week in the watched areas to virtually none.

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service district co-ordinator and firefighter, Chris Williams told Heart: "The volunteers have special dispensation to ride on open footpaths and private land when out and about, so they can patrol parts of the countryside that the Fire Service doesn’t usually see".

All volunteers sign up to a strict code of conduct to ensure safety and professionalism.  They are only required to report incidents not intervene or risk confrontation, and if they come across an emergency situation they dial 999. 

The incidents reported by the volunteers include: 

  • fly-tipping
  • abandoned vehicles and other highways issues
  • arson and anti social behaviour
  • blocked drains and missing drain covers
  • animal welfare concerns such as abandoned dogs and horses
  • security issues such as broken gates or fences
  • fire hazards such as dry hay bales around harvest time

The volunteers also get involved with school patrols and are on hand to support the police with missing people searches if required.

Director of Community Protection and Chief Fire Officer, Roy Wilsher, addded: "This project is an excellent example of partnership working in action.  We are very lucky in Hertfordshire to have such a dedicated team of volunteers and this initiative demonstrates just how valuable they are.  The volunteers also get involved with many of Hertfordshire’s publicity events, such as the Herts County Show and Tunnel2Towers run, always receiving a positive response."