- Gloucestershire Constabulary to retain its mounted section
- Decision follows extensive public trial which backed-up academic research showing the value of officers on horseback
- Mounted section to play important role in neighbourhood policing
- Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl says the unit will prove itself to be a valuable and cost-effective resource
Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl has welcomed the Constabulary’s decision to retain its mounted section.
The announcement follows a year-long trial and extensive academic research led by the RAND Institute and the University of Oxford in Gloucestershire.
It means police horses will now be a permanent feature around the county.
Mr. Surl said, “I understand why this has been a controversial issue and that not everyone was in favour, but the unit has been put through a rigorous trial and has answered all the questions asked of it.
“Throughout this period, horses have been used successfully on a range of tasks. The results bear out what the academic research suggested, namely that they are a big attraction for the public and that people are much more likely to go up and talk to an officer on horseback than one of foot. We have seen that in the night time economy where mounted officers have been particularly successful in increasing public confidence.
“There is a popular misconception that police horses are only used at football matches and public order disturbances. In fact, they enable the police to get closer to people in the street and that will be a key element in improving neighbourhood policing where the need and opportunities for information-sharing should be obvious.
“One of the initial arguments was around cost but the Chief Constable assures me he is confident he can generate sufficient income through mutual aid and other avenues to make the section cost effective.
"When they look again at the proven benefits, I hope even those who were most sceptical will recognise a small mounted section as a valuable resource”.