A campaign to use mounted police in Newcastle is paying off
The mounted division of Northumbria police has been awarded a special certificate by its chief superintendent in recognition of its success in cutting crime in the area.
Recent figures released show that officers made a total of 108 arrests and issued 43 summons, plus 507 fixed penalty tickets.
Offences included the supply and possession of drugs, drink driving, assault, theft and possessing offensive weapons.
The mounted section still carries out its traditional patrol duties but the emphasis was switched in 1998.
“Some forces disbanded their mounted section because they felt they weren’t being sufficiently productive,” said Superintendent Neil Mackay. “We decided to use police horses in a different way to help us target criminals and the figures show how effective this has been.
“The officers on horseback have a bird’s eye view and can spot problems. Also people – even criminals – are more respectful with a horse.”
Spt Mackay believes that police horses had been particularly useful in areas such as Quayside in Newcastle, where there has been an explosion of new pubs, clubs and restaurants, bringing more than 100,000 people to the area every weekend.
The mounted division is currently made up of one sergeant and six police constables. The officers and the total of nine horsesare based at Kirkley Hall in a purpose-built unit.
“We are working to our maximum capacity now,” said Spt Mackay.