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Journal of nicholas (3034)

Friday January 02, 2004
11:09 AM

Police horses

[ #16588 ]

While cycling back with important supplies from Saisbury's, I overtook two police officers on horseback. I've seen horse droppings flattened on the road before, and assumed it was police horses, but this is the first time that I've seen them. This made me wonder - how many other countries operate police patrols on horseback? Come to think of it, how many UK forces apart from the Met do this?

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  • The city of Nice (France) operates a city police force on horseback (that is to say, separate from the national police -- they take orders from the mayor and not from the préfet). Their main job is to patrol around the Promenade des Anglais and to scare away all unclean people.
  • I've seen the Lancashire Constabulary patrol on horse back. Unlike a car, a horse can get into narrow spaces, and it's less effort than a mountain bike. Plus if you give someone a wallop with a truncheon from horse back I'm sure it hurts a lot.

    -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
    • Plus I expect that there's slightly more of an element of fear with horses. Certainly, with a police vehicle, you know that the human is in control, and isn't intentionally going to drive it into you. With a horse, you're not quite so sure what it will do...

      • I hadn't thought of that, but horses are pretty stupid, big and quite capable of doing a great deal of damage on their own. I expect the police ones are VERY well trained, but in my experice most people's horses are a stupid bundle of nerves.

        -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
  • In Sweden they still use horses for breaking up groups of demonstrants etc. it looks much like what you would do in medieval times.

    In Copenhagen, Denmark we have two horses with the police I estimate (guess), mostly for the tourists I think.
  • Every town/city in the UK has some form of mounted police force for crowd control, mostly at football matches (or rugby, depending on the town).

    There are probably some exceptions to this, so perhaps it's just every "major" town or city.
  • Both New York and Chicago have mounted police, and use them often.