The Met's Mounted Branch has a long, distinguished history dating back to 1760. It was first introduced to combat the problem of highwaymen in London.
Today, the close knit Mounted Branch team has a wide range of responsibilities. These include:
high visibility patrols
escorting the military and the Royal Household in central London, which is a key counter terrorism role
undertaking a vital role in anti-violence and priority crime initiatives across London
undertaking community engagement, which helps to build positive relations with hard-to-reach communities
specialising in crowd control at sporting events, demonstrations, public order events, and state ceremonial occasions such as Trooping the Colour
care and maintenance of the horses and tack
The high vantage point and versatility of Mounted Branch officers make them a valued police resource.
The Mounted Branch has a horse strength of approximately 110, with 117 police officers, plus police staff across seven sites. These sites are:
Great Scotland Yard
A normal tour of duty for a Mounted Branch officer consists of a patrol of three to four hours. However, at times this may be extended depending upon the duty they are required to perform.
Horses are purchased based on their temperament, size and trainability. Common horses from a mixture of breeds make good ‘job horses’ and they are bought on the open market.
Irish breeds often make for good ‘job horses.’ Ideally, horses will be backed and around four years old. Once deemed suitable, horses are given a four week trial period. If successful, training begins as a ‘Remount.’
Initial training lasts for at least six months, during which the horses remain at Imber Court. The horses are then allocated to a specially trained police officer. They will be sent out to one of the Met’s stables where they will continue their training. The majority of horses are made operational within 18 months.