The Hand Equestrian Centre (HEC) is due to reopen as a training centre for police horses and dogs.

The former competition venue in Clevedon near Bristol closed last year (17 December) and all competitions were cancelled.

It has now been bought by Avon and Somerset Police who will use the centre as a new public order training base, and to house the mounted and dog sections.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the constabulary to move into a state of the art facility which will enhance the public order training for police officers and potentially others across the region,” said police and crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens.

“It will also provide a better environment for both their staff and animals. The Constabulary has for some time been telling me that their current base at Bower Ashton no longer offers the flexibility they need and it’s also in need of considerable repair.

“By moving into this new base it will give us a modern facility fit for the 21st century, improve the training the police can do and offer more opportunities to work with partners and our regional colleagues.”

The news of HEC’s closure came just two weeks before the popular New Year ding-dong show and ahead of key qualifier dates including British Showjumping pony premiers in January and February 2015.

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In a statement at the time, the Hand’s owner Nick Davies said the announcement was made with “a heavy heart and great sadness”, and he thanked staff and sponsors for their contributions over the years.

“We have agonised over this decision but are faced now with no alternative but to close the centre and put the property up for sale.”

The Davies family bought the centre eight years ago and invested in developing the facilities into an Olympic-approved venue.