Police to stop horsing around
Come December 1, police on horseback will no longer be seen patrolling Copenhagen’s city streets. Despite public outcry, the mounted police will fall victim to budget cuts.
The police force is looking to cut 118 million kroner from its budget by 2015, and though the nine horses and 12 riding policemen survived the first round of cuts, the cost of veterinary bills, feed, stables and general upkeep have now made them too expensive.
“We spend 130,000 kroner more per year on a riding officer than a regular policeman,” Mogens Lauridsen of the Copenhagen Police told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “We are aware that the horses have been popular, but we have an obligation to deliver as much police work as possible for the money we have.”
News of the cuts was met with disappointment both from the public as well as within the police force.
According to Kristian Madsen, a riding policeman since the programme started 14 years ago, officers are better received when they arrive on horseback as opposed to in a patrol car.
“Even when tensions have run high, we were always well-received,” Madsen told Berlingske newspaper. “We can talk to anyone – that’s the upside when arriving on a horse.”
Though there have been a great deal of civilians offering to purchase the retired horses, the Copenhagen Police hope to sell them to Swedish and Norwegian authorities, which still make use of riding policemen.
The mounted police officers will be assigned new work within the police force, though Madsen and his colleagues are sad to say goodbye to their current partners.
“We ask these horses for something that is so far from what they naturally want to do, so in the end you become very attached to them,” he said.