Published: 14:25, 05 October 2021
| Updated: 17:58, 05 October 2021
The county's only mounted police officer has joined a unit cracking down on rural crime in Kent.
Alaine Benardis and her trusted steed, Jack, have patrolled around New Ash Green for the past seven years and have now joined the full-time Rural Task Force to lend officers their specialist skills.
The team welcomed Special Constable Benardis and Jack into the unit earlier this month joining seven officers dedicated to tackling rural crime and protecting those in more remote communities.
They focus on combatting illegal off-road motorcycling, hare coursing and theft of farm machinery.
Jack, a 21-year-old pony, is known for his unflappable temperament and along with SC Benardis have given hundreds of hours to serving the community.
As well as carrying out her mounted patrols as a volunteer, SC Benardis helps out with the Gravesend Volunteer Police Cadets and has seen some cadet officers join the full ranks at Kent Police.
The pair will now continue their patrols, which they started doing in 2014, and build on their activities such as encouraging the "pass wide and slow campaign", a national campaign by the British Horse Society to raise awareness from motorists to pass horses safely and without frightening the animal.
Having joined the Rural Task Force, SC Benardis has the same powers as a regular police officer despite volunteering to work for the police.
A retired teacher, SC Benardis, said: "This is an exciting opportunity to work with colleagues with a specialist knowledge of rural crime and I am looking forward to continuing my patrols of New Ash Green with Jack and working with the team to address any issues raised by the community."
Special constables in the police are commonly assigned to some of the most specialist teams on Kent Police using their specific skills to assist officers.