Hunters and police set up 'forest watch' scheme

hunter in orange jacket with cap and dogs in pine wood

About 200 hunters in the Oise drafted in to help fight crime in rural areas

Some 200 hunters are to be recruited as "chasseurs vigilants", to help police fight crime in rural areas under a new scheme in the Oise.

Based on the Neighbourhood Watch notion of residents keeping an eye out for their neighbours, they will report anything suspicious that they see while they are out hunting.

Each member will be given a unique identification code, which gives them a direct link to local police if they dial 17 on their mobile phones while out in the forests, Le Parisien reports.

Volunteers, all members of the 18,000-strong Fédération des chasseurs de l'Oise, are vetted by police before joining - any with criminal records are rejected - and will all take an oath.

And police have moved to ease fears that those hunters who are part of the group could overstep their role.

"There will be no confusion of roles," police captain Eric Lecacheur told Le Parisien. "We have told them not to be gendarmes. Under no circumstances will they be asked to intervene unless it is to help a person. They will be asked to look out for anything strange and warn us in the case of an emergency."

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