Heroic police horse Boris honoured

Boris with Constable Paul Copeland and The Bill actor Graham Cole.

Cometh the hour, cometh the horse. Police horse Boris has been honoured for his unstinting bravery in facing an unruly mob during London’s 2011 riots.

Boris was one of the first mounted branch horses on the scene in Tottenham High Road on the very first night of the August disturbances. He was met with a sea of hostile crowds, burning buildings, and faced an onslaught of improvised and dangerous missiles.

The Yorkshire-born grey gelding Boris did not flinch.

A natural leader, he made a path through large crowds and gave other mounted branch horses the confidence to follow in an effort to control and help those affected by the disturbances.

Boris performed magnificently in what would end up being a 26-hour shift and then proceeded to work 14-16 hours almost every day during the disturbances.

His brave efforts on the first night may well have saved lives as they allowed officers on the scene the opportunity to advance forward and help those in need.

His outstanding service was honoured on Friday with his selection for the Special Hero Award at the annual Burgess Wetnose Animal Rescue Awards.

His rider, Constable Paul Copeland, was delighted with the award, which was presented by top British Paralympian Lee Pearson.

“I’m extremely pleased that the work that Boris does is being recognised and, indeed, the efforts of all the horses in the mounted branch.

“Boris is always willing, eager to please, gentle, laid back, brave as a lion, good to work and always a first choice when difficult deployments are anticipated.

“Boris can be relied upon day in, day out to act above and beyond the call of duty.”

“He is truly an outstanding police horse,” said Copeland. “Whether leading Her Majesty The Queen’s State processions, meeting and greeting children from deprived backgrounds, dealing with outbreaks of serious public disorder, or simply patrolling the streets providing reassurance to London’s population, Boris can be relied upon day in day out to do his duty. Even with the riots last August he was there at the front leading the way, he is the one and only big brave Boris!”

Boris joined the police in November 1998 as a four-year-old.

From his humble origin in a Yorkshire field, Boris has grown to show amazing courage in the face of duty.He was a young horse when he was selected to be trained to work for the Metropolitan Police, not having been ridden before.

He is based at Kings Cross Stables, but also works on state visits and had the recent privilege of being one of four horses selected to lead the Queen’s procession to the official state opening of Parliament.

He will also be involved in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Boris has also received a Commissioner’s Commendation for his work last summer but, despite his heroics, he continues with his day-to-day duties.

These have and always will be preventing and dealing with crime.

This year, Boris and Copeland have been busy. Their efforts in searching for a suspect after a man was attacked with a claw hammer resulted in a charge for attempted murder.

Boris also regularly polices football matches and, on one recent occasion, when a man was knocked unconscious, Copeland and Boris pursued the suspect who was later charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The not-for-profit organisation, Wetnose Animal Aid, which selected Boris for the bravery award, is involved in caring for and rehoming abandoned, neglected and unwanted animals in rescue centres across Britain.

Wetnose Animal Aid co-founder Gavin Gamby-Boulger with Dame Judi Dench, who was among the celebrities attending the awards.

Dame Judi Dench and 30 other celebrities attended the annual Burgess Wetnose Animal Rescue Awards in Knightsbridge on Friday to award, applaud and acknowledge animal rescue centres across the UK and abroad.

Hosted by Wendy Turner-Webster for the third year running, the star-studded line-up included Jenny Seagrove, Annette Crosbie, Rick Wakeman, Vicki Michelle, Rula Lenska and Sam Fox.

The awards recognise the valuable and endless work of small, independent rescue centres in caring for and rehoming abandoned and unwanted animals in Britain and overseas.

The awards also honour the “Best Rescue Centre” for categories such as small animals (rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas), cats, dogs, horses and wildlife.

Headline sponsor Burgess Pet Care, one of the UK’s leading producers of pet food, also gave out awards for the Best Rescue Story and the Best Rescue Pet.

Wetnose Animal Aid director Andrea Gamby-Boulger said: “In a time of recession, rescue centres are under even more pressure due to an influx of animals and a huge drop in donations.

“The work these small, independent rescue centres do is vital for many animals, but we must remember these animals are the lucky ones. Many thousands are not.”

Boris with Constable Paul Copeland, Ingrid Farrant, and Lee Pearson, who presented the award.



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