7 February 2000
Part-time rural police planned

THE government is drawing up plans to create a part-time police force to combat rural crime, according to a report in The Independent.

It also wants to hold police surgeries in post offices, doctors clinics and village halls and use local authority and private security patrols.

Other plans being considered include an alternative 999 number for non-emergency inquiries and tip-offs, and a big expansion of surveillance cameras in villages and rural towns.

The new police force would operate like the Territorial Army and be paid a retainer.

“Countryside constables” would be expected to act as neighbourhood patrol officers providing a greater presence in rural areas.

The Home Office has asked Ray White, the chief constable of Dyfed Powys, to provide a package of ideas about how to cut rural crime.

The Independent also reports on a volunteer policing scheme operating in Dorset.