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Hackney Horses

by msecadm4921

A joint operation to reduce crime through increased high visibility patrols in Hackney has been hailed a success by local businesses, thanks to the noticeable presence of mounted officers.

Operation Empath was launched on 4 May following concerns about anti social behaviour and disorder in Mare Street/the Narrow Way in the approach to summer.
The area had seen a recent increase of problems such as robberies and street drinking, particularly during the after school period and evenings.

As a result the Homerton Safer Neighbourhoods Team decided call upon the Met’s most highly visible patrol teams – officers from the Mounted Branch – to increase patrols and reduce anti social behaviour and related crime. Additional patrols and support was also provided by colleagues from the Transport Operational Command Unit and other local officers.

The operation has succeeded in achieving a significant reduction in anti-social behaviour, and street drinkers, which could sometimes number up to 20 during the longer and warmer evenings, have almost completely disappeared. The changes have also been noted by local businesses, many of which have commented on the reduction in shoplifting and improved sense of safety. Much of the feedback singled out the mounted officers, who carried out five-hour patrols in pairs twice a day, as a particularly reassuring presence in the popular shopping district.

Inspector Andy Walker from Homerton Safer Neighbourhoods Team said: "This operation has achieved the very effect we hoped for, improving the quality of life for all visitors and local residents and enabling everyone to enjoy the area in the way it should be. We have had fantastic support from the Mounted Branch recently and there is no doubt that their presence has had a significant impact, helping to reduce crime and anti social behaviour. To achieve the same impact as two mounted officers, the evidence suggests that we would need three or four times that number of foot officers, so this is great value for us."

PC Paul Copeland from the Mounted Branch at Kings Cross Stables said: "These operations clearly demonstrate what mounted officers do best to reduce crime and the fear of crime. With our elevated positions on horseback, we are one of the most highly visible forms of policing the Met offers, and we find that people from all areas of the community, from schoolkids to the elderly, will approach and chat to us in a way that may not with other officers."

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