19/05/2011 Largest Police Horse in the UK Gets Respite at The Horse Trust

Thames Valley Police horse Titan on Wednesday arrived at The Horse Trust's sanctuary in Speen, Buckinghamshire where he will spend at least six months on respite.

Titan, a 18.3hh Shire-cross, weighs over a tonne, making him the largest police horse in the UK*. He has been working for Thames Valley Police for the last nine years, carrying out vital police work across the Thames Valley area (Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire) as well as further afield, helping police forces that do not have a mounted division, such as Hampshire, Sussex and Bedfordshire Police.

16-year old Titan is coming to The Horse Trust for respite as he suffers from intermittent lameness caused by a condition called ringbone. If his condition does not improve after six months, he will be given lifetime sanctuary at The Horse Trust.

PC Tim Pollock, who has ridden Titan for the last six years, said he is one of the force's best horses.

"Titan is one of our top horses - he is very loyal and brave in all situations," said PC Pollock. "People are always astounded by his size and often come up to say hello. Despite his large size, he is remarkably agile and incredibly sure-footed. It was like he was made to be a police horse!"

"I was sad to see Titan leaving to go to The Horse Trust. We've been through a lot together over the last six years and have always looked after each other," added PC Pollock. 

Titan has been involved in a wide variety of police work during his time with the Thames Valley Police including the following: • Crowd control at football matches for numerous teams including Reading, MK Dons, Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth, Southampton and Luton Town. He is regularly used for crowd control for local derbies and also for major events, such as, 2004 FA Cup final between Manchester United and Millwall at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. • Providing a police escort to heads of state visiting the Queen at Windsor Castle, including President Bush and Jacques Chirac. • Providing a police escort for the Queen at Royal Ascot • Crowd control at the Labour Party Conference and Gay Pride march in Brighton • Crowd control at recent student tuition fees demonstrations in Wycombe and Oxford • Night club patrols at various town centres including Oxford, Aylesbury and Reading • Crowd control at concerts at the Milton Keynes Bowl, including Take That and Oasis • Crowd control at English Defence League demos, including demos at Luton, Brighton and Cardiff

On Wednesday, Titan made the 35-mile journey from the Thames Valley Police stables at Witan Gate, Milton Keynes to The Horse Trust's sanctuary in Speen, Buckinghamshire.

According to Shirley Abbott, Yard Manager at The Horse Trust, the journey and new surroundings didn't phase Titan. "Titan settled in straight away in a paddock at The Horse Trust. All the staff have already fallen in love with him as he's such a handsome and impressive chap," said Shirley.

Titan will remain in quarantine for a few days, but will then be reunited with his former Thames Valley Police horse friends Iceni and Dexter, who retired to The Horse Trust three and five years ago respectively.

* Titan is the largest known police horse among the 16 police forces in the UK that have a Mounted branch.

The Thames Valley Police Mounted Section, which was established in 1985, plays a pivotal role in public order and mainstream policing. It is staffed by one sergeant, eight full-time police officers and four police grooms. At present, there are nine horses in the Mounted Section.

The majority of the Mounted Section’s work and time is dedicated to providing high-visibility patrols. The section has been deployed in all of the main towns and cities across the Force area, and also in many smaller towns and villages. Each of its horseboxes is fully self-contained, allowing the section to park and operate in rural areas. The section also provides a mounted response to planned events involving large crowds or spontaneous public disorder in Thames Valley. This includes policing football matches at four grounds in the Force area and helping to maintain public order and safety at demonstrations and marches.