Police horse punched by Newcastle fan after derby is back on duty in city

BACK ON DUTY: Police horse Bud and groom Isabel Collins.
BACK ON DUTY: Police horse Bud and groom Isabel Collins.

A POLICE horse punched by a Newcastle fan after the Tyne-Wear derby will be back on duty in the city as part of a major operation to keep the peace between English Defence League (EDL) suoporters and their opponents.

A 45-year-old was arrested after Bud, who belongs to West Yorkshire Police, was hit by a right hook following Newcastle United’s 3-0 defeat to arch-rivals Sunderland last month.

His presence at the EDL march and a protest by their opponents was specially requested by Northumbria Police, which has been planning its operation for months.

Bud suffered no long-lasting harm from the punch, and was showered with gifts from well-wishers who posted treats to his stables.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “His presence was requested specifically by the silver commander of the event.”

Despite the increased community tensions caused by the horrific murder of a soldier in Woolwich on Wednesday, police believed the march and protest would pass off peacefully, while allowing business in the city to carry on as normal.

Chief Superintendent Gary Calvert said: “We have been planning for Saturday’s events for several months and have adequate resources in place to deal with any eventuality.

“Public safety is our absolute priority and our aim at all times is to allow these events to pass off peacefully with the minimum of disruption.”

Some roads will close in Newcastle as the two marches pass through the city from opposite directions, both finishing some distance apart at about 2pm.

The officer added: “Newcastle will be open for business - shops and pubs will operate as usual.”