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The long face of the law: meet the woman and her horse who are taking on crime

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 July 2018

Local Police Volunteer Sarah Hills with her horse Robbie.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Local Police Volunteer Sarah Hills with her horse Robbie. Picture: Nick Butcher

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One woman and her horse are leading the charge in a new police initiative aimed to engage with communities and gain valuable information.

Local Police Volunteer Sarah Hills with her horse Robbie.
Picture: Nick ButcherLocal Police Volunteer Sarah Hills with her horse Robbie. Picture: Nick Butcher

Sarah Hills and Robbie, her 14-year-old Clydesdale cob cross, are part of Suffolk Police’s Local Policing Volunteer scheme in Beccles.

The scheme was originally launched in April across six towns including Beccles and Bungay, and now it has been opened up to the whole county.

Since 2016, Mrs Hills and Robbie have been part of the Suffolk Police support volunteer on horseback, however her latest role is more focussed on Beccles.

Mrs Hills said: “You become part of the policing family and your input is invaluable to them.

Local Police Volunteer Sarah Hills with her horse Robbie.
Picture: Nick ButcherLocal Police Volunteer Sarah Hills with her horse Robbie. Picture: Nick Butcher

“This whole thing is to support the community and support the police.

“My role is not about fighting crime and chasing criminals, it’s about being out there as a person to contact.”

As part of the non-uniform role, volunteers become accessible points of contact for their communities and help the police to detect crime by promoting effective communication and the prompt reporting of suspicious and criminal activity in each area.

Mrs Hills spends around 15 hours a week patrolling the area on top of her job as a company director with a renewable energy firm.

Local Police Volunteer Sarah Hills with her horse Robbie.
Picture: Nick ButcherLocal Police Volunteer Sarah Hills with her horse Robbie. Picture: Nick Butcher

She said: “My job is very demanding, I work between 60 and 70 hours a week, and I felt I needed to give something back.

“I had to go through a number of tests and training with the police but it’s been really good for personal development.”

While the 38-year-old says her role is rewarding and especially important for more elderly members of the community it is Robbie who remains the star of the show.

She said: “He’s known as the police pin-up at Suffolk Police headquarters – he’s a big softie really.”

Local Police Volunteer Sarah Hills with her horses Robbie and Rhubarb.
Picture: Nick ButcherLocal Police Volunteer Sarah Hills with her horses Robbie and Rhubarb. Picture: Nick Butcher

The duo are occasionally joined by Robbie’s “partner in crime” Rhubarb – a feisty Shetland pony.

Mrs Hills added: “This is just a hobby to help out and give something back. It saves the police time and that’s what it’s all about.

“If you are out and about in the community it’s a great opportunity to join the policing community and feel like you are giving back.”

For more details email specialsandvolunteers@suffolk.pnn.police.uk or call 01473 613589.

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