On the morning of January 26, 11 policemen mounted atop horses will be seen patrolling the streets of Mumbai, adding a dash of grandeur to Republic Day celebrations. Mumbai’s first unit of mounted policemen will make a comeback 88 years after they were disbanded in 1932 by then Commissioner of Police, Patrick Kelly, who felt with the advent of motor transport the unit of mounted policemen was not required.
Thirteen horses have undergone training for the past four months to get used to crowded places and noise, so that they can aid policemen on crowded stretches of Mumbai’s beaches and promenades. According to state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, the mounted policemen will be effective in patrolling during protests, allowing them to look far in crowded places.
The first unit will include a police sub-inspector, an assistant sub-inspector, four head constables and 32 riders holding constable rank.
The riders have been trained in Pune while the horses were trained at Mahalaxmi race course by Subedar (retd) R T Nirmal. “These horses were not comfortable in going near water but after training, they are covering the entire coastline with ease,” said Nirmal, roped in by Mumbai Police to train the horses.
The 13 horses include seven thoroughbred and six Marwaris. Another 19 are expected to be procured by next year and a fleet of 32 horses will be maintained by the mounted police unit.
The thoroughbred horses are Padmakosha, Shivalik Skies, Divine Solitaire, Beekwerk, Severus and Golden Orchid. Whereas, the six Marwaris are Veer, Toophan, Shera, Chetak, Baadal and Bijli. The 13 horses, presently stabled in Shivaji Park, will be transported to Marol headquarters where a complete facility for mounted police with a stable, riding school, sand bath, swimming pool for horses and administrative unit for riders is being planned on a 2.5 acre plot. “Each rider will be equipped with a body-worn camera and a wireless walkie-talkie while on patrolling duty,” said Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve.
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