MOSCOW, November 19 (Sputnik) – The British public has more confidence in the police if officers are deployed on horseback the Summary report, commissioned by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) stated Wednesday.
The goal of the study was to understand how members of the public perceive and react to mounted police deployments in various venues including neighborhood policing, soccer policing and public order policing in festival and demonstration settings.
"In neighborhood settings, mounted police patrols are associated with higher levels of visibility, trust and confidence in police", one of the key findings of the research "Assessing the Value of Mounted Police Units in the UK" emphasized.
The data, collected during pre and post surveys, demonstrated that the introduction of mounted community patrols was noticed by local residents. Having recently seen mounted police was associated with significantly higher levels of trust and confidence in British law enforcement.
"In community settings, the horse and rider combination appears to act as a sort of ambassador and 'ice-breaker' for the police", Ben Bradford, from the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford, the ACPO report co-author said.
"People come up to say 'hello' or to make a fuss of the horse before having a quick conversation with the officer", he added, commenting on the public's interaction with mounted police.
The research has been carried out at a time of cuts to policing capacity in the United Kingdom. It has become a pressing issue since the application of UK government austerity measures in 2010.
In this context, a number of forces have determined that mounted police units are too expensive to justify maintaining. As a result, in the past three years, the number of forces with mounted units in the UK has decreased from 17 to 12, and the overall capacity of mounted units has dropped substantially, in compliance with the ACPO Report.
Police horses and riders have been part of the British police for almost two centuries. It can be traced back to the establishment of the modern police service in 1829. Mounted police perform a broad range of tasks, such as public order, crowd control, high-visibility urban patrols, community engagement and ceremonial duties.