Humberside Police to disband horse unit in bid to save cash
HUMBERSIDE Police's mounted section is being scrapped to save money.
Chief Constable Tim Hollis said the decision to disband the unit, made up of six horses, will save £500,000 a year.
The horses are used for public-order policing at football matches, protests and large events.
The force needs to save £11 million over the next five years after the Government cut its budget by 20 per cent.
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Mr Hollis said: "I have made this decision with a note of sadness, but we are in a period when sentiment hits austerity and hard decisions must be made.
"The budget is under huge pressure and that is only going to get harder, so decisions like this are inevitable.
"I realise the public and many officers, both serving and retired, will regret the loss of a mounted section which has been an integral part of policing across Humberside for so many years.
"I have spoken with the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove and he fully understands, but he does share my sadness and knows the public will be disappointed."
After the unit is disbanded in March next year, police will hire horses from other forces for large events.
The horses in the unit could be relocated to other police forces or retired. Mr Hollis said only a quarter of police forces retain a mounted section.
Mr Hollis said: "We will still buy horses in for high-risk football matches and events like Hull Fair, but what we will miss are the hearts and minds patrols when they are out and about. The public do like to see the horses.
Mr Hollis personally met with the six police officers and three staff working within the unit to inform them of his decision.
Although the officers will be moved to work in other areas of the force, the stable hands are likely to lose their jobs.
"It is sad for them because they are very proud and very committed, but I explained our financial position and the decision I have made," said Mr Hollis.
Mr Hollis said he wanted to make a decision on the future of the section before he retires next month.
"This has been something we have been looking at hard for months and I felt it would have been grossly unfair to leave this decision to my successor. It is unambiguously my decision.
"We have to make significant savings and £2 million over four years is a significant sum of money.
The stables at Walkington, where the horses are based, will be sold, with the funds made available to the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Police dogs, which are currently based at the same site, will be relocated.