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Gloucestershire’s Specials join the quad squad

Special Constables are bolstering rural crime detection work after being trained in using off-road quads. Gloucestershire’s part-time officers have taken on missing person searches and more.

Gloucestershire Constabulary has increased its use of Special Constables after training three officers alongside four regular officers in how to use the force’s off-road quad bikes in rural areas.

The Specials have been involved in searches for high risk missing people, responding to 999 calls and conducting open space patrols during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gloucestershire currently has 133 members of the Special Constabulary who have contributed over 10,000 operational duty hours since the coronavirus lockdown came into place.

Rural crime is an increasing issue for the force. Offences include illegal deer poaching as well as the theft of high value agricultural vehicles and off-road motorbiking on private land.

Officers have access to Polaris Ranger off road buggies and Suzuki King Quad 4x4s that enable them to support the team of Rural Crime Officers (RCOs). There is one RCO in each rural policing area, a co-ordinator and 23 Rural and Environmental Crime Officers (RECLOs) plus volunteers.

By law, any operator who is required to ride a quad bike as part of their work should be trained in their use as per the PUWER 98 regulations.

Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Martin Surl, has committed to buying more off-road vehicles and is exploring the option of buying drones to increase capacity.

Inspector Simon Ellson from the Cotswolds Neighbourhood Policing Team said:  "The extra trained officers and new off-road vehicles will assist us in providing this service to rural and hard to reach communities.

"We have dedicated rural and wildlife crime officers in all rural areas of the county and this will allow us to build on the considerable work we have already undertaken in this area."

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