Budget cuts threaten the future of police horses
Tuesday 20 November 2012
Police horses could become a rare sight on Britain’s streets as forces across the country cut or merge their mounted section units to save money.
The closure of police stables has been condemned as “myopic” by officers who fear that regional forces’ ability to deal with public disorder will suffer irreversible damage for the benefit of relatively small savings.
Two forces, Eseex and Nottinghamshire, have taken the decision to scrap their mounted units in recent months, and South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Humberside last week agreed to combine their mounted section units, relocating their stables into one site.
The Nottinghamshire Police decision caused particular shock as the force’s units were deployed during last summer’s riots in the centre of Nottingham.
It is feared that other forces across the UK may follow suit by merging or disbanding their mounted section units all together.
In an effort to make the case for protecting Britain’s 14 remaining mounted units, officials from the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) are considering commissioning an in-depth study into how they useful they are for dealing with public order incidents.
Rick Nelson of the Police Federation told The Independent: “To reduce or disband mounted branches is extremely myopic. Once numbers fall below a certain level, we will have lost invaluable experience forever and it will be hard to regain the experience which we as a Federation believe is essential for even basic quality policing of big public order events or high profile Policing.”
“On occasions savings of this type may end up costing the service more in the long run, Police horses at football and other public order situations or high profile community issues can reduce the total number of officers required to police the event considerably.
“Police horses are and have been a vital part in policing public order events and mitigate greatly the risk to the safety of Police Officers and the Public.”
Assistant Chief Constable Rod Hansen, Acpo lead for mounted sections, said the planned study into the mounted units could be “used as a tool by chief officer groups before they make a decision about their forces”.
Speaking to PoliceOracle.com, he said: “Mounted policing is too important to lose completely. There needs to be more qualitative research into how much mounted sections will be missed if they were not around.”
Essex police announced last month they would also be disbanding their mounted section to save £600,000 per year. Defending the decision, Assistant Chief Constable Sue Harrison, said:
“We know that the public police officers and staff hold the mounted section in great affection, and the unit has provided great service over the years. However, the financial pressures we face need to be met head on and inevitably difficult decisions have to be made.”
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
- 5 Mrs Doubtfire 2: Robin Williams set to star in sequel to 1993 comedy
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...