Dog and Horse Unit Cuts
The number of police dog and horse units in the UK has been reduced because of government budget cuts. Five police forces have scrapped their mounted units since 2009 and there are 200 fewer police dogs now available to the police. The Home Office has reduced funding to police by some 20% over the past four years and, as a result, campaigners say police operations will be jeopardised.
A recent report by the BBC showed that out of the 37 police forces in the UK who responded to their request for information, there had been an overall drop of 11.6% in the number of police dogs, from 1,983 dogs to 1,753, since 2009. British Transport Police made more cuts than any other force in that time, nearly halving their number of dogs to 55.
Police in Scotland reduced the number of dogs by 35% since eight forces were merged into one. Horse numbers have also declined in recent years under the government’s austerity measures. In 2009, 17 police forces had horse units but that number has since been cut to 12. Essex, Cleveland, Humberside, Nottinghamshire and North Wales have all disbanded their mounted units.
Don’t Ditch the Dogs
A former police officer, who helped start a social media campaign, Don’t Ditch the Dogs, against the cuts, said the move was “very short-sighted” as dogs were an effective deterrent to criminals. Mike Pannet, said that just the sight of dogs was enough to put off even hardened criminals.
Meanwhile the campaign on Facebook and Twitter has brought the issue to the attention of thousands of people and has definitely galvanised support, not only from the general public but police officers as well. Keyrings, wristbands and car stickers are also available to buy for those who want to show their support, as the threat of further cuts to dog and horse units loom large.
Whether it’s a dog that’s in the police or one that lives with their family and spends most of their time running around the garden, they all deserve the best care possible. As a dog owner, you will want the peace of mind that no matter what happens; your pooch is looked after, meaning dog insurance a very practical investment.