Poll: Essex Police to axe Mounted Section

THE Essex Police Mounted Section is to be disbanded “with great reluctance” just four years after it �250,000 was spent reinstating it.

The unit was first cut in 1999 but then brought back in 2008, with the significant investment in new facilities at its Writtle base.

Essex Police has now confirmed that it will once again disband the unit as it continues to face considerable budget challenges. It says axing the unit will save about �600,000 each year.

The force said that “in light of increasing financial pressures” and following widespread consultation, chief officers had agreed “with great reluctance” to disband the Mounted Section.

Essex Police must reduce expenditure by �42 million by 2014. This has already meant the loss of 807 posts across the force, including 324 police officers, 100 PCSOs and 383 police staff since April 2011.

Assistant Chief Constable Sue Harrison said: “We know that the public, police officers and staff hold the Mounted Section in great affection and the unit has provided great service over the years. However the financial pressures we face need to be met head on and inevitably difficult decisions have to be made.

“The disbanding of the Mounted Section will lead to approximately �600,000 of savings annually and the decision to remove these posts is part of the on-going planned reduction of police officer numbers over the four year reform change programme.

Most Read

“Officers based within the unit will take up new roles elsewhere in the force and staff members will be eligible for redeployment. A detailed plan for the disbanding of the unit is now being progressed.

“If we were not to have taken this decision, then Essex Police would have had to lose an even greater number of officer posts from across the force.”

She said securing a good home for the horses would continue to be “paramount” and that the force will explore all avenues to achieve this, including transferring them to other forces.

Asst Chf Con Harrison added: “On behalf of all at Essex Police, I would like to express our gratitude for the fine work undertaken by the officers, staff and horses of our Mounted Section.”