Mounted police unit at Milton Keynes may be scrapped as part of budget cuts

Mounted Police patrolling a match at MK Dons : Picture courtesy of Thames Valley Police
Mounted Police patrolling a match at MK Dons : Picture courtesy of Thames Valley Police

The mounted police section based at Milton Keynes may be scrapped as part of funding cuts.

An option to disband the mounted section by 2019 is to be discussed when budget proposals are presented to the police and crime commissioner (PCC).

PC Craig O’Leary, police federation chairman, said losing the unit would be a “sad loss”.

The unit is deployed to maintain public order at football matches and other events.

A Thames Valley Police spokeswoman said scrapping the unit was one of three options being considered as the force continued to operate in an “extremely challenging financial climate”.

Other options to be considered by PCC Anthony Stansfeld will be mainting the unit in its current format or restructure it to “deliver savings”.

The force said “various” budget plans will be discussed on January 23, but it’s understood the dog handling section could also suffer cuts.

PC O’Leary added: “The mounted section are fantastic in bringing potential inflammatory situations back under control. From that perspective they are second to none.

“‘No new money’ would diminish the force’s services leaving them to rely on other mounted sections, such as that at the Metropolitan Police.

Officers in the mounted unit, which is made up of nine horses and is based in Milton Keynes, would be redeployed if the section was removed.

Since 2010/11, the force has had to make £99m of savings, a reduction of more than 450 police officers.

A consultation by Mr Stansfeld on increasing the police element of council tax by £1 a month - for a band D property - is ongoing.