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Fedster

Mounted Section resorts to sponsorship in fight for survival

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Fedster

The chief constable has refused to make promises about the unit's future.

87F4DADF-3CB4-4BCA-AF72-F29956CDD93C.jpeg

Caeser retired from TVP after ten years of service in 2016

A mounted police unit is hoping to save itself from being disbanded through private sponsorships and by training Special Constables.

The announcement Thames Valley Police is considering cutting its mounted section altogether in the face of budget cuts provoked an outcry earlier this year.

A cull of its dog and roads policing units are also on the table.

But the specialist teams were granted a temporary reprieve at the eleventh hour in January as Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld postponed his decision.

According to Thames Valley Police Federation the mounted unit is now trying to raise £500,000 in sponsorship to replace two transport vehicles and is in talks with Chief Constable Francis Habgood about a longer term business case for their survival.

Craig O’Leary, Thames Valley Police Federation Chairman, said: “The future of the mounted branch was not brought up in the most recent Police and Crime Commissioner budget meeting and it wasn’t put forward as a cut.

“But we have a situation with our mounted section where we have two transport vehicles that need replacing, and that’s to the cost of £500,000.

“In today’s current climate that’s an awful lot of money. The chief has met with the officers on the mounted section and I think they’ve had a very good discussion, and there are plans afoot to try to secure funding for that department that’s outside the police budget that’s given to them."

Mr O’Leary added: “There are some very real challenges that Thames Valley Police are facing over the next three years. There will be a commencement of department by department review on what service they’re providing and how can that be improved, and whether we working as smart as we can be.

“If we can work smarter and realise some efficiency savings then I think that’s certainly the route that the force is going down now.”

CC Habgood confirmed no immediate decision is to be made about the mounted section’s future as Mr Stansfeld’s decision to increase the force’s council tax precept has helped ease financial pressures.

He said he has had a “really good discussion” with the mounted unit about their role.

“I was really impressed with their passion and the work they had done to present a case to me.

“We agreed that over the next few months they will collate additional data around their deployments, the income they generate from other forces and their costs.

“They will also explore opportunities for using Special Constables within the team and further funding streams, for example through sponsorship.

“I know the mounted section has a wide following, both on social media and when the officers and horses are out and about. I know that they are grateful for that support, as am I."

He has agreed to meet with the unit again in October but said he makes “no promises” as that would be “reckless”.

A statement released by CC Habgood earlier this year said plans are still underway to review how dog handlers are deployed across Thames Valley and Hampshire Police but no decisions have yet been made to cut the unit’s budget.

But the force has decided it will not be replacing a number of vacancies in the Roads Policing Unit and is rethinking its firearms model.

View On Police Oracle

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Hyphen

It’s is annoying when there are still comments about efficiency savings and ‘working smarter’. I think most if not all forces are long past that.

More generally it’s just another sad story and sums up the state of British Policing. 

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Techie1

I overtook a police horse van on the motorway a few days ago. Been a long time since I’ve seen one of those.  It many horses left now... 

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Mac7

As Hyphen says this is a sad reflection of the state of policing today. I would replace “sponsorship” with “begging” to raise the money required. Just as stations have closed and forces have scrounged offices in council offices, fire stations of businesses to operate out of to save money. Sorry, I mean embed themselves within the community to better address local issues and increase visibility. Blah blah blah.

As forces realise the majority of efficiencies have been made the inevitable happens. I work within a force where specialist resource deployments were “reviewed” a while ago and a fancy new model created. Those on the ground from the start said it was not going to work but the bosses pressed ahead and specialist resources were spread thinly across a huge area. It’s now on the verge of collapse.

The government continue to fob off the public by saying budgets are protected. This is more evidence that they aren’t and the public are being lied to.

Having said all that is a mounted section still required? They are few and far between these days. Perhaps they should look at a national mounted section with all forces contributing to the costs.

It is an unfortunate situation TVP find themselves in and frankly, an embarrassment.

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James255
6 hours ago, Mac7 said:

As Hyphen says this is a sad reflection of the state of policing today. I would replace “sponsorship” with “begging” to raise the money required. Just as stations have closed and forces have scrounged offices in council offices, fire stations of businesses to operate out of to save money. Sorry, I mean embed themselves within the community to better address local issues and increase visibility. Blah blah blah.

As forces realise the majority of efficiencies have been made the inevitable happens. I work within a force where specialist resource deployments were “reviewed” a while ago and a fancy new model created. Those on the ground from the start said it was not going to work but the bosses pressed ahead and specialist resources were spread thinly across a huge area. It’s now on the verge of collapse.

The government continue to fob off the public by saying budgets are protected. This is more evidence that they aren’t and the public are being lied to.

Having said all that is a mounted section still required? They are few and far between these days. Perhaps they should look at a national mounted section with all forces contributing to the costs.

It is an unfortunate situation TVP find themselves in and frankly, an embarrassment.

NPHS? National Police Horse Service.

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Beaker
13 minutes ago, James255 said:

NPHS? National Police Horse Service.

"Monitoring, not sending out yet"

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MerseyLLB

We have used TVP horses a couple of times.

As more mounted units disband...the ones that are left will have to start rejecting mutual aid deployments (despite the funding they offer) to retain their own resilience.

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Growley

It's unfortunate but police horses are so incredibly expensive for the work return they provide, that in times where forces are on the verge of going under, they're pretty much unaffordable.

It's a real shame, because when you actually need them in a public order situation, they suddenly become invaluable.

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Techie1

Couldn't we have Voluntary Police Horses?

They could do a few hours a week as and when required?

There's Horse Watch schemes in some counties, just an extension of that?

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Mac7
Couldn't we have Voluntary Police Horses?

They could do a few hours a week as and when required?

There's Horse Watch schemes in some counties, just an extension of that?





If there is a need to retain a mounted capability then that negates it being voluntary.

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Radman
Posted (edited)

Ambulance Services bolster some of their activities via the work of established Charities.

Air Ambulances are almost entirely charity operated - I don't know the rules surrounding this but could a charity be established with fundraising etc to support the Mounted Policing Unit?

An idea worth thinking outside of the box in this particular instance.

Edited by Radman
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Zulu 22
1 hour ago, Growley said:

It's unfortunate but police horses are so incredibly expensive for the work return they provide, that in times where forces are on the verge of going under, they're pretty much unaffordable.

It's a real shame, because when you actually need them in a public order situation, they suddenly become invaluable.

That is the pity, they are a very expensive to maintain but unfortunately an expensive necessity. They are under used for 90% of the time and over used when they are needed, usually at weekends.

 

1 hour ago, Techie1 said:

Couldn't we have Voluntary Police Horses?

They could do a few hours a week as and when required?

There's Horse Watch schemes in some counties, just an extension of that?

emoji16.png

Our horses are highly trained. Could you imagine at a public order situation a half trained horse suddenly spooking. How many officers would be badly injured. Many years ago we had a mounted officer killed by his own horse when cleaning out the stable.

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Techie1

I wasn’t being serious. But unfortunately I picked the wrong smiley... meant to use this one :D

 

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Beaker

Pity they can't charge them back to the football clubs.

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Growley
42 minutes ago, Zulu 22 said:

That is the pity, they are a very expensive to maintain but unfortunately an expensive necessity. They are under used for 90% of the time and over used when they are needed, usually at weekends.

They're not a necessity, that's the problem. They're a very expensive luxury; they look nice, and they can control crowds by less violent means, but they're far from the most efficient way of dealing with public disorder. What they are is great support for the boots on the ground, because the job makes us very vulnerable with our overly-tolerant wait-and-see attitude and limited tactical options.

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