Award ceremony for Albert the police horse

Thames Valley Police horse Albert in central Milton Keynes
Thames Valley Police horse Albert in central Milton Keynes

A police horse from Thames Valley is a finalist in a national animal hero competition.

Albert, who is the longest-serving horse in Thames Valley Police’s mounted section, has been shortlisted for the RSPCA and Daily Mirror’s Animal Hero Awards 2014 for his work during demonstrations, football matches and VIP visits to the UK.

The winner will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony in London on Wednesday (November 26).

Albert’s excellence was highlighed at an incident in Brighton in April 2012, when anti-fascist protestors clashed with members of the English Defence League (EDL).

Smoke bombs, metal railings and glass bottles were being thrown across the police line, and when the horses became surrounded protestors started to pull at the reins, push the animals and attempt to pull the officers off their saddles.

Despite this, Albert remained calm and used his body weight to push the protestors away.

This was one of many incidents which Albert has been involved in during his ten-year police career.

PC Kevin Simmons, from the mounted section, said: “We all got surrounded. People were grabbing us and bottles were bouncing off our helmets.

“It was one of the most extreme situations I have been in. The commendations afterwards stated that we were subjected to unprecedented levels of violence.

“I am not one to be scared easily, but that was a scary day.

“But through the good bond that we have with our horses and our trust for each other, we both looked after each other. All the horses, and especially Albert, did a great job.

“The commander said afterwards that if it was not for the horses they would have really struggled to reach their operational goals.”

PC Simmons added: “Albert is getting a bit older now, so he has a few joint problems and gets a bit stiffer than he used to.

“He is probably the next one on to be retired, maybe in a year or two, but he will go to a good home when he does and spend the rest of his days in the field grazing.”

Retired police horses join those from the military and charities at The Horse Trust in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire.

For more information about the Animal Hero Awards 2014, visit animalheroawards.co.uk