Nottinghamshire’s police force, chasing more than £42 million in cuts over four years, is to axe its mounted unit.
The unit will remain in operation until the London Olympics, after which arrangements will be made to sell the horses and the staff will be redeployed.
There are seven horses and seven staff in the unit, which is used mostly for crowd control during big public events.
The decision was made by the Nottinghamshire Police Authority, eyeing £93,000 in annual savings from the move.
Nottingham’s Acting Chief Constable, Chris Eyre, said Nottinghamshire Police had to reduce the annual cost of policing by more than £42m by 2015.
“I acknowledge the affection many of our residents have for the police horses,” he said.
“I fully recognise the history of the mounted section and the contribution it has made over many decades to policing the city and county. But I have to deliver a policing service that makes the very best use of very limited resources and to that end take some difficult choices.
“The force is one of very few left in England and Wales that retains a mounted section, and although its work is important, it is not a unit that is used frequently.
“Redeploying the staff to daily front line duties will strengthen our local policing presence and that is our determination and commitment to the communities of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
“The section will remain in place until the end of the London Olympics to which we have agreed to deploy the horses and officers. Work will then begin to redeploy the officers and make arrangements to sell the horses, in a way that places the horses’ future welfare at the top of our priorities.”
Eyre said the economy drive had already seen the axing of 200 officer posts, a hundred of whom we have required to retire after 30 years’ service under regulation A19, and a further 300 police staff posts.
“Despite these austere economic conditions and the challenges this presents, our determination is to do everything we can to protect and enhance front line services to our local communities.
“To that end, we have committed to increasing the strength of our local officers in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire by 100 by 2015. This will in part be achieved by shifting officers from other operational roles into local policing.”
The decision by the authority to disband the force’s mounted section was part of that on-going process to strengthen and shape policing for the future in Nottinghamshire, he said.