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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 09:10 GMT
Mounted police return to streets
Police horses
The new mounted police's first patrol will be in Southend
Mounted police will begin patrols in parts of Essex for the first time in eight years.

The force reversed its 1999 decision to disband the mounted unit, which will now be used to patrol crime hotspots and crowd control operations.

Essex Police said the annual cost for the horses, veterinary bills and stabling will run to 114,000, but hopes to off-set that with sponsorship.

The first mounted police patrol is due in Southend later.

Sgt Dave Martin said: "The horses and police riders have been through challenging, yet rewarding training schemes in preparation for the various events and incidents that the mounted unit may face.

"Having the horses patrol the streets of Essex really demonstrates the positive impact the mounted unit will have.

"Police horses bring a number of benefits to operational policing in both rural and urban areas and with only a handful of the UK's police force's having mounted units, it is a real asset to the county."

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The force said the 114,000 annual cost was justified



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