Nottinghamshire Police may lose its mounted division unless it can secure £50,000 in sponsorship by February next year.

Budgetary cuts have left the future of the 10 horses in the division in the balance, despite the police authority arguing for it to stay.

Chairman of Nottinghamshire Police Authority John Clarke said he thought the benefits of the mounted unit were worth the costs.

He explained: “I think [Nottinghamshire Police force] would be short-sighted to scrap the unit. Horses play a crucial role in community relations. If we lose them now, it would be many years before we got them back.”

He said that a local health firm and a football club had expressed interest in sponsoring the unit.

“We have two brand-new horseboxes that companies can put advertising on and we can put discreet logos on our saddlecloths,” he said.

The authority launched its appeal for sponsorship last year (news, 14 September 2006) but no deal was secured.

Councillor Clarke doubted that the money could be secured by February, when the chief constable is due to set next year’s budget.

Chief Constable Steve Green said losing the mounted section “would be a great shame”, adding he could not predict what the final decision would be.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (20 September, ’07)