Merseyside Mounted Police has launched a new brand, Stand Tall, to generate sponsorship to keep police horses on our streets.
In 1886 Liverpool Police became the first provincial police force in Britain to maintain a permanent Mounted Branch, and today (Friday 13 March) the next chapter in its illustrious history begins.
Over the years, the section has helped police Royal Visits, World Cup matches in 1966, a civic reception for The Beatles, and regular trophy processions by Everton and Liverpool football clubs.
In order to continue its work, Merseyside Police is launching the brand and sponsorship packages to help the Mounted Section remain at the heart of communities as well as help police some of Merseyside's biggest events.
The horses are regularly used to visit schools and attend community events. They are also deployed to patrol the city centre at weekends, for crowd control at football matches – where they are affectionately known as the ‘sound of Saturdays’ - to patrol the shorelines in holiday season and famously to guide the victorious horse in the Grand National into the winner’s enclosure.
The Mounted Section were joined at the stables on Greenhill Road, Allerton on Tuesday by Chief Constable Andy Cooke and Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside Jane Kennedy.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: "Merseyside Police’s Mounted Unit plays an essential role in maintaining public confidence in the Force. The horses break down barriers that might come between the public and the police. The horses provide reassurance to large crowds and assist police colleagues on foot in safely delivering the crowds to their destination. I was determined to do everything I could to protect this important police unit.
"I first considered looking at new ways to preserve the mounted section back in 2015 when cuts of up to 40% were being threatened by the then coalition Government.
"While those staggering cuts were thankfully averted, our budget has still been cut by £17m in the last three years and we have a further £7m of cuts to make this year. That is why the Chief Constable and I are taking the unusual step of seeking sponsorship for aspects of the mounted unit’s costs.
"Stand Tall is a wonderful concept which will resonate with the Liverpool city region. I am grateful for the encouragement we have already received and I look forward to working with partners old and new as we promote the ambassadors of this amazing police force, our police horses and the officers who ride them."
Chief Constable Andy Cooke said: “We are extremely proud of the Mounted Section, which has been standing tall for more than 130 years, providing a vital service for generations of officers and the people of Merseyside.
“We are convinced of the value of keeping the horses, but significant cuts to public services have prompted us to look even more creatively at how they can continue to provide the same level of service to the public.
“Giving the Section a clearly defined brand and attracting corporate sponsorship will allow the force to maintain the department so the horses can continue to be a strong operational resource. It will also enable us to reinvest the existing budget will be reinvested in to other areas of front line policing.
“Recent research shows the presence of a horse can have the same impact as 12 officers on foot, as well as a calming effect on crowds.”
The logo for the Merseyside Mounted Police is inspired by Murphy’s Law, a police horse who loyally served the force for 14 years. Murphy sadly died last year, shortly after becoming a social media star when he posed in front of Liver Bird wings street art on Jamaica Street in Liverpool.
As part of a range of sponsorship packages, companies will be able to name a horse for a year, adopt a horse, be a keeper for the day and even get their logo on the saddles of the horses who will lead the Grand National winner into the Winners Enclosure.
Inspector Col Rooney said: “It is very exciting to see that the importance of the Mounted Section, for which I am very proud to work, has been recognised.
"We look forward to welcoming sponsors on board to make sure the future looks bright.
“We have helped at major sporting events, Armed Forces Day, Liverpool Pride, music festivals, the Grand National, community events and the visit of the Giants, and this news means the Mounted Section will remain a regular sight at these big events."
The brand was formally launched at Liverpool's Hope Street Hotel on 7 March at an event hosted by Chief Constable Andy Cooke and Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside Jane Kennedy, with Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham, the CEO from Liverpool Football Club and the Deputy CEO from Everton FC there to show their support.
Liverpool FC CEO Peter Moore said: "For us at Liverpool Football Club, the Merseyside Mounted Police are an integral part of what we do. When a police horse walks through the crowd, everybody smiles. Their value is immeasurable, as is the sense of humanity they bring."
Deputy CEO at Everton FC Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale MBE added: "We cannot think of a more effective resource for large crowd control and management in emergency situations and that is why Everton Football Club would like to pledge to sponsor Merseyside Mounted Section moving forward."
To read more about the Merseyside Mounted Police, and opportunities for sponsorship, visit: http://Merseysidepolicemounted.uk