Pet detectives to help police by ‘patrolling’ in Harrogate

Pics for feature on Autumn in Stanley Park, Blackpool.'Early morning dog walkers in an avenue of yellow and gold.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'27-10-2012

Pics for feature on Autumn in Stanley Park, Blackpool.'Early morning dog walkers in an avenue of yellow and gold. PIC BY ROB LOCK'27-10-2012

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A new super-team of canine crime-fighters is to be formed in Harrogate with the help of patrolling pet owners.

The new initiative - called the Harrogate Dog Watch Scheme - calls on pet owners to act as the long paw of the law.

Dog walkers, who are often out and about at all times, are being asked to take the lead by helping police sniff out crime and ‘Jack Russell’ up some criminals.

The aptly-named PC Tom Barker is running the scheme.

“Dog walkers are the eyes and ears of the community,” said the beat manager for Harrogate Town Centre for Harrogate Police who came up with the idea.

“They are often out walking at all hours and inevitably come across suspicious incidents that the police would like to hear about.”

The idea is based on the long-standing and successful Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, which relies on the community to report low level crime and anti-social behaviour.

“I am not asking dog walkers to intervene with incidents or put themselves at any risk,” said PC Barker.

“I am just keen to hear about any issues of anti-social behaviour, vehicle nuisance, suspicious people or vehicles, and any criminal activity that dog walkers would normally come across on their usual dog walking route.”

Dog-owning detectives who sign up to the scheme will be sent an information pack to explain how it will work.

Once up and running, it is hoped that those who have joined will set up a network amongst themselves, raising any issues or reporting incidents and anti-social behaviour to policing teams.