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Force's Mounted Section jockeying for its future


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Police horses could become a thing of the past for one force

Caeser retired from TVP after ten years of service in 2016

Caeser retired from TVP after ten years of service in 2016


Thames Valley Police could lose its mounted unit if cost-cutting proposals are approved.

The police force runs one of just 13 mounted units in the UK.

Gloucestershire Constabulary confirmed it would be re-establishing its mounted unit in August after a year-long trial, reversing years of budget cuts which saw mounted branches in Britain cut from 17 to 12 during 2012-15.

But Police Oracle can reveal Thames Valley Police is considering giving its police horses the boot altogether.

A spokesman for TVP said three options are on the table for the future of its mounted section:

  • maintain the unit in its current form
  • restructure the unit to “continue the service while delivering savings”
  • removal by 2019

He said: “In line with forces nationally, Thames Valley Police continues to operate in an extremely challenging financial climate. The force has an ongoing commitment to deliver an effective and efficient police service that meets policing needs both now and in the future.

“A number of options are being considered to enable the force to make investments and savings to deliver this commitment.

“Various budget proposals will be presented to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, later this month.

“This will include proposals in relation to the Mounted Section, of which TVP is one of only a small number of forces nationally to retain its unit.”

The proposals will be presented at a public meeting on January 23.

Retired officer turned campaigning author Mike Pannett said the loss of any mounted will have a “massive knock-on impact” upon neighbouring forces who no longer have access to their own horses and upon other mounted sections who will have to travel huge distances to plug the gap.  


He said: “The word is catastrophic and that is not a word I use lightly.

“We are already down to the bare bones. I have grave concerns about the capability of police to respond to kind of major public order incidents we faced during the 2012 riots.”

He says “disastrous” cuts to police dog units are already on the cards, despite the fact some forces have already experienced reductions of 75 per cent in this area.  

“We are talking about the frontline of the frontline. These are invaluable assets. Mounted and dog units are worth their weight on gold. They say one police dog is worth ten officers and I can say the dogs saved my neck countless times on duty.”

He said he did not want to criticise individual chief officers as they are facing “incredible financial pressure” but “would question where the cuts are coming from”. Mr Pannett also called for a national strategy on mounted and dog unit, similar to National Police Air Service.

On Sunday, West Mercia Police Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans tweeted his thanks to TVP's Mounted Section for helping his force police the Shrewsbury Town F.A cup tie with West Ham. TVP Mounted Section has tweeted about lending its support to Wiltshire, Leicester and Brighton Police over the last six weeks alone. 


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