Poll: Horse-mounted police to patrol Barking high street

PUBLISHED: 13:00 04 October 2014 | UPDATED: 12:43 06 October 2014

Mounted police. PA/Andrew Matthews

Mounted police. PA/Andrew Matthews

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Horse-mounted police could become a regular presence on the high street as part of an ongoing campaign to raise public confidence in the Met.

Ch Insp Martin Kirby, neighbourhoods and partnerships lead for Barking and Dagenham, said he was negotiating with Scotland Yard to get a pair of officers on horseback, normally seen around tourist hotspots in central London, to patrol Barking high street.

“Nothing is more visible in terms of police presence than the horses,” he said, adding he hoped the first patrol would happen “within the next two weeks”, provided the officers weren’t needed elsewhere.

The move forms part of Operation Commit, which aims to build confidence in the Met among members of the public, and if successful will see the patrols appear multiple times a month.

“I think there’s a bit of a perception gap in terms of how well we are doing around crime,” said Ch Insp Kirby. “Really we are doing quite well, but I think we aren’t very good at getting the message out there.”

Although new to his post, Ch Insp Kirby has spent the past two-and-a-half years working in operations in Barking and Dagenham and has spent a little over 12 years in the Met.

Asked if the move might appear heavy-handed, he said: “I think generally, having seen the horses and the officers that ride them, they are very good at engaging and talking with people.

“People want to go over and speak with the riders. I think people are broadly very receptive to the idea because it is a very visible police presence when they are there.

He added the riders would be in “normal uniform” and not in the “public disorder” gear commonly seen at large events such as football matches.

What do you think of the idea of horse patrols in Barking high street? Let us know by voting in our poll and leaving your comments below.

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