Equine recruits wanted: could your horse become a crime fighter?

  • Do you own a large, steady horse who you think would thrive in a career with the police? Then West Yorkshire Police (WYP) want to hear from you as they are looking for a new equine recruit to join their mounted section.

    The force is looking to buy a 16.3hh to 17.3hh mare or gelding aged between four and 10 to replace Breeze, who after 10 years with the mounted section, will retire later this year.

    PC Jane Warnes, a WYP mounted section trainer, told H&H: “We’re looking for Irish draughts, shires and clydesdales – for the type of work we do we find those breeds quieter and steadier and good to bring on.

    West Yorkshire Police

    “They have to be good to handle and deal with by different people – they can’t be a one person horse. There’s different people on the yard dealing with them every day so they have to have a good head on them to cope with that. Some horses can’t cope with that kind of change of person day in, day out.”

    Horses must be quiet and “level headed” and good to shoe and clip.

    “The horse needs to be quiet enough to allow police officers to do their job and concentrate on the work. That might mean standing in a busy street with lots of people around writing notes, but they should also be bold enough to deal with public order situations as and when they arise,” said PC Warnes.

    “At our site we have the firearms department, public order department, dog section and helicopters taking off so there is a lot going on here.”

    Equine recruits will be required to undertake a four-week trial period and vetting.

    “We have to make sure the horse is able to potentially do the job – people might say a horse is good in traffic, but it might turn out they’re not good enough. A trial gives the horse time in that environment to settle in,” said PC Warnes.

    “On the first couple of days we’ll ride them in the arena, then we’ll get them out with another hosre in the country and we’ll gradually build up to a small town centre. We won’t take a horse straight to a football game, it’s too much to ask.”

    PC Warnes said full training can take up to two years.

    “If we bring them in as a 10-year old that period could be shorter, it’s when we think they’ve ticked all the boxes and they’ve been on patrol, attended parades and are good at football matches,” she said.

    “The horses we have are very happy – they like the routine. In the summer some will live out, and some prefer to come in during the evenings – we cater for whatever suits the horse best.”

    Enquiries should be made to annette.twigg@westyorkshire.pnn.police.

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