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Essex Police mounted section faces axe
8:41am Tuesday 24th July 2012 in County News
Essex Police are scrapping the force’s mounted section – five years after bringing it back.
The unit – eight horses and nine officers – returned to duty in 2007 after the unit was scrapped in 1999 to save money.
Yesterday the force told the Essex Police Authority it was planning to disband the unit a second time, in September, saving £600,000 a year.
A police spokesman said if the plan went ahead, the nine officers would be transferred to other duties within the force. The two civilian grooms who look after the animals would also be eligible for redeployment within the force, while the horses would be offered to other forces or found new homes.
Mick Thwaites, a former Essex Police district commander who is one of those standing for the post of Essex’s first crime commissioner, criticised the decision.
He said: “One horse going down the street is seen by several hundred people. One bobby in a car is seen by next to nobody. Which provides the most reassurance?
“The mounted section is not a Pony Club. These are proper, modern bobbies who are out there doing a proactive job,.
“They are in places like Lakeside, where we have had prolific numbers of vehicles stolen.”