Hold your horses! This week our mounted section has started moving back to Barnsley’s Ring Farm after a couple of years based in Wakefield.
The team of nine horses, one sergeant, six constables and three stable hands performs various deployments for South Yorkshire Police including football, protests, parades, ceremonies, concerts, missing people, open land searches, general high visibility patrols and public reassurance.
The horses returned to Ring Farm on Monday 23 April with staff temporarily based at nearby Cudworth Police Station while refurbishment work is carried out.
Sergeant Katherine Wallis from the mounted section said: “We are really looking forward to our return. Ring Farm has brilliant facilities for horses, including plenty of grazing and undercover areas for preparing them for deployment. It will also be great to be based within our own communities that South Yorkshire Police serve.
“Whenever we are out on patrol and especially when we are deployed in Barnsley, people ask if we are going to return so it has been great this last few weeks to be able to tell them that we are coming back. They have been genuinely really pleased and are looking forward to it.
“The public are always quick to flock to the horses when they are out on patrol, it is a great opportunity for us to engage and build relationships with our communities. Often people will come and talk to the mounted officers and horses where they might not ordinarily get the chance to speak to police.
“There are those who have become regular fans of the horses and look out for them, often with a packet of mints or carrots, this is particularly noticeable at football matches where they have their football tickets in one hand and goodies for the horses in the other!
“Foreign students studying at The University of Sheffield are another big fan of the horses, they never fail to come and chat and take endless photos to send home – no doubt there are photos of our horses around the world! The mounted officers always make time to talk to the students especially when they first arrive at the beginning of term. It is a chance to reassure them, give out crime prevention advice and let them know that the police are approachable.”
The Mounted Section is expected to be fully operational from Ring Farm by Monday 30 April.
Superintendent Simon Wanless, Head of OSU, said: “Returning to South Yorkshire will provide a better service for local people by increasing the deployment time available for our horses and riders. The move will save costs on travelling to Carr Gate, which is 12 miles outside the force area, and it will save on rental costs with West Yorkshire Police.
"We very much value the mounted section in our county. They are used a great deal for football policing and also for community engagement and community reassurance. They are a real crowd-puller, people really get engaged with the mounted officers."
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