Plans to axe horse section endorsed

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PLANS disband a police force’s mounted section in a bid to save cash have been endorsed.

The decision by Chief Constable of Cleveland Police Jacqui Cheer to decommission the mounted section of Cleveland Police was endorsed at last night’s Police and Crime Panel, held in Stockton.

The committee scrutinises the work and the decision making of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger.

The decision will mean an annual saving of £88,000.

Panel member, councillor Steve Nelson, said that any councillor who objected to the decision should be prepared to give up the neighbourhood officers in their ward in order to keep the mounted section going.

Operations Commander for Cleveland Police, Temporary Chief Superintendent Glenn Gudgeon said: “To be absolutely clear, we are in a position where we need to put officers in the places where there is most demand.

“We have made the decision to lose officers from the mounted section, rather than Neighbourhood Policing or high risk areas such as child protection.

“I do not think anyone who wants to see the public protected could disagree with that.”

Most members complimented the thoroughness of the consultation and scrutiny by the commissioner and underlined that this was an operational decision of the chief constable.

Commissioner Barry Coppinger explained that it would take several weeks now to make the arrangements to rehome the horses and redeploy the officers into operational duties.

Mr Coppinger said: “I met with the Save our Horses campaigners only yesterday to receive an update on their fundraising activities.

“The campaign leader asked for more time for responses to come back on sponsorship requests, which I agreed to, with an end of August deadline.

“A number of members of the panel had asked their residents whether they would prefer officers in their neighbourhoods or officers on the mounted section and the public’s response was that they would prefer officers in their neighbourhoods.

“The panel also recognised it was an operational decision for the chief constable to make, and not a decision that I could or should influence.”