South Yorkshire Police’s Mounted officers provide support to across South Yorkshire, examples of this are
- provide high-visibility patrols on a daily basis
- work with local policing teams to help deal with nuisance youths and off road motorcycles, and enforce dispersal orders and alcohol exclusion zones
- conduct stop and search procedures
- police town centre’s
- tackle disorder, drug and drink-related offences and behaviour
- assist in searches for vulnerable missing persons, discarded or concealed evidence, and
- conduct breathalyser tests in conjunction with roads policing.
- used road traffic legislation to seize un insured vehicles.
- Align their duties to work on key dates of high demand such as Mischief, Christmas and New Year.
Since 1992, the Mounted section has been stabled at Ring Farm in Barnsley. Ring Farm is currently home to 14 horses, one sergeant, 12 constables and six support staff.
The section is staffed by experienced police officers from a variety of policing backgrounds; each officer undertakes an intensive 16-week course prior to carrying out mounted patrols. Some of the officers that join the department have not ridden a horse before.
Within their daily patrols, officers in the Mounted Section have duties that include dealing with nuisance youths, off road motorcycles, alcohol exclusion zones and enforcing dispersal orders. Officers on horse back also conduct searches in areas of open land. These searches may be for vulnerable missing persons, discarded or concealed evidence and fleeing offenders or suspects. Other duties can involve attending ceremonies including the Mayor’s parade and the Master Cutler’s Ceremony. The department is tasked centrally by a planning team that matches resources to the demand of the force and its priorities. This means that officers work on a wide variety of issues around the whole force area supporting districts.
From an elevated vantage point, officers are able to identify and prevent potential issues before they develop. The sizes of the horses mean that officers can combat serious issues effectively without the need for large numbers of staff. Crowds can be effectively contained, controlled, manoeuvred and dispersed appropriately.
Out of the 43 police forces in England and Wales, only sixteen have a mounted section. When required, the department can provide un-planned and pre-planned ‘mutual aid’ to other police forces.
The most suitable breeds to become a police horse are Irish Draught, Shire and Hunter Type horses. The main colours being bay, chestnut and greys. The horses must be over 16 hands in height and are chosen according to their nature.
Our horses are purchased from the public and established horse dealers. Generally, horses are purchased at the age of four and must undergo a series of tests over a four-week period. These tests are to assess the horses' character, fitness and ability to perform operational tasks. Training, for both the horse and the rider, is ongoing throughout their time in the department.
All horses are named after areas in South Yorkshire and on retirement, they go to the Horse and Pony Protection Association (HAPPA) who look after them or find suitable homes.