Mounted police at risk as budget savings sought

  • The future of the Thames Valley Police (TVP) mounted section is still uncertain as the force “reviews the operational requirements” for the team.

    TVP presented its budget plans for the next three years to the Thames Valley police and crime commissioner, Anthony Stansfield, this week (23 January).

    A spokesman for the force had told H&H before the meeting that “various budget proposals” would be put forward, including those “in relation to the mounted section, of which TVP is one of only a small number of forces nationally to retain its unit. The options are: to maintain the

    mounted section in its current format, to restructure the unit to continue the current service level while delivering savings or the removal of the unit by 2019.”

    The plans presented yesterday set out a “balanced budget”, but no decisions have been made about the mounted section.

    Francis Habgood, the force’s chief constable, said: “We are still reviewing our operational requirements for a mounted section and the financial implications, but no decisions have been made about its long-term future.

    “I can confirm that we have no intention to remove our mounted section before Ascot 2019 at the earliest.

    “I continue to receive representations from officers and stakeholders about alternative means of funding this iconic service and a full range of options will be considered over the coming year.”

    Mr Habgood said the force has saved some £99m since 2010, but that it “needs to find and will find” savings of £15m over the next three years.

    “We will always be required to make tough decisions about how best to shape our organisation,” he added. “We have to both deliver today, and also plan for the future to ensure we continue to keep the communities of Thames Valley safe.”

    Mr Stansfield acknowledged the public support demonstrated this month for the mounted section.

    Continues below…

    “I can confirm that the budget I approved today does not include any reductions in the funding for these departments,” he said. “I recognise the valuable contribution both the mounted section and dog section make to policing in the area and I remain fully supportive of both sections.

    “Once the review has been completed I will discuss further with the chief constable.”

    A Facebook page and Twitter account have been set up in support of the TVP mounted section.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.


    You may like...