NORTH Yorkshire's rural police force has won international recognition for its work.

The Rural Taskforce of PCs and police community support officers backed up by civilian volunteers has been shortlisted for the World Class Policing Awards 2019.

Among its projects in the county's countryside are anti-poaching and anti-fly-tipping operations and operations to catch and deter machinery and plant and equine thieves and improving farm premises security.

Its Operation Owl run with the RSPB, RSPCA and Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors national parks to protect birds of prey was so successful it was rolled out nationwide this summer.

Led by Inspector Jon Grainge and Sergeant Stuart Grainger, the rural team is the largest in England.

Inspector Jon Grainge said: “It’s a great honour to be shortlisted for a policing award alongside colleagues from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and around the world.

"The recognition reflects the dedication of the taskforce, but also colleagues across the force who work so hard to keep our rural communities safe – and of course, the hundreds of volunteers who give up their own time to support us through Mobile Rural Watch patrols and engagement events across the county.

“We don’t aim to win awards – we aim to keep rural residents safe by catching criminals and safeguarding our communities. However, it’s very rewarding to see our approach recognised at an international level.”

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in central London on November 14.