A DOG WATCH scheme encouraging owners to report suspicious activity has been launched by Hampshire police.
It is starting in the New Forest, with a view to rolling it out across the county during 2020.
The initiative encourages dog walkers to be proactive and vigilant whilst walking their pets.
This could include reporting any suspicious activity or vehicles, graffiti and vandalism, fly-tipping, hare coursing and livestock worrying to the police or the appropriate partner agency.
Insp. Korine Bishop of Hampshire Constabulary’s Country Watch team said: “We are pleased to introduce this new scheme to the New Forest.
“Dog walkers are the first people out in the mornings and the last ones out at night, so they are often in a position to notice anything suspicious.
“The scheme is not asking for members to intervene, but just to report anything that does not look right to the relevant authority.”
Insp. Bishop added: “This is an excellent opportunity to develop a closer relationship with the dog walking community around the Forest so, together with our partners, we can make our neighbourhoods safer.”
Members of the public interested in the scheme will need to register to join on the Hampshire Alert messaging system at www.hampshirealert.co.uk by selecting the Dog Watch group.
Members will then receive updates and information from the police, Hampshire Fire and Rescue, New Forest District Council and other partner agencies.
They will also be sent details on where they can pick up an information card, to fit in a wallet or purse, which contains all the relevant contact numbers in the New Forest area.