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‘An honourable job for any horse’: police force seeking new recruits

A police force is looking for new equine recruits to help grow its four-legged team.

Northumbria Police’s mounted section was founded in 1857 with just one horse who had been gifted to the chief constable. The force has grown and is now looking to add to its team of eight horses.

“The section recently moved to a new location near Chester-le-street and now is the perfect time to expand the team and we are asking horse owners to consider whether their animal would be suitable for a career in the police,” said sergeant Stu Coates, who heads the unit.

“We take very good care of the horses who work for Northumbria Police and they get pampered by the fantastic team we have here.”

The force is looking for mares or geldings between 16.2hh and 17.3hh of draught type, including Clydesdales, Shires, Irish draughts or part-breds. Ages between five and 12 years old will be considered.

Candidates do not need to be “well schooled” but should be established in walk, trot and canter under saddle and the force state it is desirable for them to be good with the farrier, to clip, load and in traffic.

Sergeant Coates said police horses get a lot of attention from the public who like to find out more about them, but added they also have a serious job to do.

“They are a fantastic asset to have in public order scenarios whether that be a protest or a football match,” he said.

“The course isn’t easy and not every horse is cut out for a life in the police – they need to be resilient, fearless and genuinely fond of attention as a huge part of our role is engaging with people who love to say hello to our horses and give them a pat and a sly snack.”

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Potential recruits who “look promising” will be invited to take part in a four-week trial and if they pass, they will undergo an intensive training course. On completion of the course they will receive a police horse name beginning with P, in line with their “horsey colleagues”; Peroni, Perth, Pluto, Percy, Penelope, Patronus, Potter and Parker.

“If they are up to the challenge rest assured they will be immensely well cared for and loved by all our riders, grooms and the wider policing family here at Northumbria Police. This is an honourable job for any horse,” said sergeant Coates.

Those interested should email sergeant Coates at 2879@nothumbria.pnn.police.uk.

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