South Yorkshire's mounted police unit to stay

South Yorkshire's mounted police unit to stay

South Yorkshire's mounted police section has been saved from closure.

The county's police force confirmed last year that it was reviewing the unit, which costs about £1m a year.

Police and crime commissioner (PCC) Shaun Wright said the unit would remain at its Cudworth base but the number of staff and horses would be cut.

A merger with West Yorkshire's unit was considered but rejected. West Yorkshire PCC Mark Burns-Williamson said he was also likely to have to make cuts.

Had the merger gone ahead, South Yorkshire's horses would have moved to Wakefield and the Cudworth base would have been closed down.

The number of police officers in the mounted section is to be cut from 12 to eight, the number of support staff will go from six to four and the number of horses will be cut from 12 to 10.

A force spokesman said it was hoped the cuts, which will save the force about £300,000 a year, could be achieved through natural wastage and retirements.

'Deep cuts'

South Yorkshire Police is one of 16 police forces in England and Wales that still retains a mounted section.

The team help to prevent disorder at events such as football matches and protests.

The South Yorkshire Police Federation previously said the section was "a very useful tool and should be saved".

Mr Wright said: "The horses improve South Yorkshire Police's visibility and help reduce crime.

"Chief Constable David Crompton and I believe the mounted section adds value to the police service and are an effective tactic to any police operation."

Mr Burns-Williamson said his force would also continue to have its own mounted section but "sustainable savings" were likely to have to be made.

He said: "With such deep cuts being made to our budget we need to ensure we can keep protecting the public, such as at recent protests, and do this at the lowest possible cost."