Why do the police still use horses?

Olivia Lambert
Associate News Editor

Have you ever wondered why police horses still play a role in modern-day policing?

Victoria Police told Yahoo News the Mounted Branch provided specialist support to frontline police, assisting in crowd control at protests, sporting events and major occasions like New Year’s Eve.

The Mounted Branch has the skills to reach spots that are hard to access, and has assisted police in both urban and rural searches for missing persons and has helped in the past with searches related to evidence gathering.

Victoria Police said the Mounted Branch sourced large horses so police could be seated above crowds to identify any anti-social behaviour.

“Police horses are a specialist resource that allow police to engage with the community in different ways,” Victoria Police Mounted Branch Inspector James Duggan said.

“The branch participates in parades for Anzac Day and Police Remembrance Day, and also has a ceremonial role at police funerals, occasional graduation parades at the police academy and regal and vice-regal escorts.”

Police from the Mounted Branch attempt to control G-20 meeting protesters in Melbourne in 2006. Source: Getty

Police have been using horses since the 1800s but most were replaced with the invention of motor cars.

“Horses have been used by police in Victoria since Military Mounted Police rode into the colony in 1836,” Inspector Duggan said.

“The establishment of the Victoria Police Force in 1853 brought several mounted units together, under the banner of the Mounted Branch.

“Horse and rider numbers increased in line with Victoria’s population, until they reached a peak in the early 1900s with 211 Mounted Stations throughout the State.

“The introduction of the motor car replaced the horses at these stations, until the last Mounted Station at Buninyong was closed in 1965.”

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