A Day in the Life: Mounted Unit
We met up with PC Rosalind Semple at Blairfield Farm in East Ayrshire as she took us through what it is like to police within the Mounted Unit and work with horses. Rosalind was a police officer for 5 years on the street before deciding to transfer to the Mounted Unit a year and a half ago.
What is an average day like within the Mounted Unit?
On an average day, the officers will come into the stables, be allocated a horse for the day and then be told what job they are doing for the day. The horse will be groomed in the morning and the tack prepared (saddle, stirrup, reins etc). The horses are treated with a lot of care and many of the officers who work closely with them have been ‘horsey people’ since a young age!
Grooms perform a great job looking after the horses, feeding them and ensuring their manes and tails are kept tidy. Once the kit is ready and the horses have their patrol bridles on, the lorry is then prepared and they then head on their travels to the location for the day.
If they are on general patrol, the Mounted Unit will go out on a 3 hour patrol. During this patrol they interact with the public and perform normal police duties. At the end of the 3 hour shift, the horses are put back in the lorry and are taken back to their stables. Upon arrival, the horses are brushed and cleaned, their tack removed and prepared for the following day.
The Mounted Unit are used at events where they are needed for crowd control. They patrol at football matches to help with the safety of the public and are advantageous because of their height over big crowds.
Being on a horse allows the officer to keep an eye on a wider crowd and identify any issues that officers on the ground may not be able to see. Being higher up allows the officer to direct crowds with ease as people are more likely to see and hear the officer.
What experience is needed to join the Mounted Unit?
Many people assume they can’t join the Mounted Unit unless they have had a long history of riding horses, but to join you don’t need to have any experience at all. For those wanting to join there is a 16 week training course with instructors who will put you through your paces.
During the 16 week assessment you will start from the very beginning by looking at horse maintenance, welfare and then taught how to ride. At the end of the course, you will then sit an assessment and once passed, you will be initiated into the Mounted Unit.
What is the best part of the job?
It’s such a great job and we’ve got such fantastic animals. The public really interact with us and everyone loves to come and see the horses when we’re out on patrol. People come up, pat the horses and bring us treats which are always welcome!
Follow @polscothorses on twitter for more information on the Police Scotland Mounted Unit.
This video was produced in partnership with Young Scot and Youth Link Scotland.