SPECIAL Constables will be out in force this weekend to target rural crime in north Hampshire.

The operation will see the volunteer officers patrol villages around Tadley, focusing on preventing and disrupting thefts from cars parked in beauty spots.

It is part of the National Specials weekend, designed to highlight the role of those officers who give up their time to help police areas where they live.

Chief Superintendent Dave Powell, force lead for the Special Constabulary, said: “We have 566 Special Constables across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, who provide a vital support service for their local policing teams and more importantly, their communities.

“I would like to thank them for giving up their free time and often balancing a full-time career, with family life and then putting on their uniform and helping to make the streets of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight safer.”

Special Constables are volunteers who have the same powers as regular officers and wear the same uniform. They give at least four hours per week or 16 hours per month of their spare time.

Simon Hayes, police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, said: “The Special Constabulary makes an important contribution to protecting people and places across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight for which I thank them.

“It is important we recognise this through key initiatives National Specials weekend.”