The return of mounted officers to the streets could help serve the public and reduce crime, Gloucestershire police believe.

The force has reintroduced mounted patrols for a 12-month trial, backed by the county’s police and crime commissioner (PCC).

Equine recruits Boris and General and their riders Mima Manning and Paul Wilkins, pictured, will be covering “the whole of Gloucestershire”, a spokesman for the force said.

Chief superintendent Gary Thompson, who has led the project, said the horses would become part of everyday policing in the county.

He added: “As a policing tool, horses are invaluable in terms of crowd control and being able to cover larger and more inaccessible areas of the county on patrol.

“However, they are so much more than that.  We want Boris and General to become part of the policing family in Gloucestershire and for the public to enjoying meeting them, and their riders, as part of day to day life.”

The trial follows research carried out in the county two years ago, which showed that “horses are a useful tactic for the police both in terms of reducing crime and serving the public”, a Gloucestershire force spokesman said.

PCC Martin Surl believes the horses will be an asset to the force.

He said: “The research shows that people love to meet the horses and that means our officers are making more contact with the public on a daily basis.

“The trial is a cost-effective way to see how well this works and ultimately best serve the people of Gloucestershire.”


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Both horses are on loan from the Metropolitan Police for the trial, after which it will be the PCC’s decision as to whether to continue with the scheme. Boris, a 16.1hh grey, is 22 and General, a 17hh bay, is 18.

The force is looking for two more horses to loan or buy for the trial. Candidates have to be “16.2-17.2hh, 5-10 yrs, good conformation and relaxed outlook on life!”