The North Yorkshire police force is urging all members of the rural community, including keepers, to consider becoming a special constable.

Specials are uniformed part-time volunteers who have the same powers as regular police officers.

Wildlife crime officer, PC Mark Rasbeary of North Yorkshire police, told Shooting Times magazine that game keepers have traditionally been the second line in policing rural areas, but more are needed to work within an official capacity: ?The knowledge they can impart to regular officers is invaluable and keepers have been instrumental in the prevention and detection of a number of offences in the county. Working as a special also allows the keeper to get an understanding of the difficulties involved in policing such a large rural county.?

Tony Williams is a moorland keeper on Shap Fell in Cumbria. He has also been a special constable with North Yorkshire police for 14 years and believes keepers have preconceptions about the role, which may inhibit them from signing up: ?In my opinion, there is not a downside to becoming a special. Specials are expected to volunteer for about 20 hours a month, which is made up of general policing and some wildlife crime. The role means that I can educate the police about rural life and help ensure that they understand legitimate fieldsports. It is mutually beneficial. I think all keepers should consider volunteering as special constables.?

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