The North Wales mounted police unit is to be disbanded due to lack of funding — just three years after it was set up.

“We can no longer afford it,” said deputy chief constable Ian Shannon, of the Wrexham-based unit that cost £200,000 to set up and £100,000 a year to run.

The mounted police unit provides support to neighbourhood and community policing teams, high- visibility reassurance patrols and polices public events.

It was set up by ex-chief constable Richard Brunstrom, who said a mounted unit was “six times more effective” than officers on foot. But it faced opposition from MPs who branded it an “outrageous waste of resources”.

The unit was closed in early April after a review ordered by new chief constable Mark Polin. It will be discussed again at the Police Authority AGM in May.

North Wales Police is one of 18 forces in England, Wales and Scotland with a mounted unit.

The last police force to disband its mounted unit was Essex Police in 1999, but the unit was reinstated in 2007.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (29 April, ’10)