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Another Mounted Section Cut Mooted

Another force's mounted section is to go as force eyes £600k saving

Essex Police is proposing to cut its mounted section to save £600,000 a year from its budget and contribute towards the £42.2million savings it needs by 2014.

The force said it would have to cut 14 officer posts to achieve the same annual saving.

¬The proposal to disband the Mounted Section is made with great reluctance.¬

A consultation has begun with the section staff affected. The section has two staff members, nine officers and eight horses.

The force said that if Essex Police Authority decides to go ahead with the cut, it will begin winding down the unit in September. A paper giving more details about the savings from the proposal will go to the authority’s Finance and Audit Committee later in the year.

Chief officers said the need to save money presented the force with difficult decisions and the Essex had already made “significant reductions” in officers and staff.

Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle said: “In these times of unprecedented financial pressures, the force is faced with very hard choices and the proposal to disband the Mounted Section is made with great reluctance.

“It should also be stressed that the welfare of the horses will be paramount and, if the unit is disbanded, the horses will be transferred to another force or re-homed.”

Forces which have a mounted section normally charge for leasing the horses out to neighbouring forces. As this story went live, Essex Police had not responded to questions about how much it had earned from this practice, or how much it expected to have to pay to lease out other forces’ horses if it disbanded the unit.

As previously reported on PoliceOracle.com, mounted sections are a common victim of spending cuts. Nottinghamshire Police has decided to cut its mounted section after the Olympics.

Essex Police originally disbanded its mounted section in 1999 but reinstated it in 2008.

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