15/02/2011 Longest Serving Greater Manchester Police Horse Retires to The Horse Trust

Dickens, a horse that has been with the Greater Manchester Police force for 15 years has retired to The Horse Trust's Home of Rest for Horses in Buckinghamshire.

21-year-old Dickens, a 16hh chestnut gelding, is one of the force's best police horses, according to Mima Manning, Stable Manager at Greater Manchester Police.

"Dickens is one of our toughest and bravest horses," said Mima. "He has a cheerful temperament and always goes to work with a smile on his face."

While most police horses have a working life of eight to ten years, Dickens has been working for the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) force for an impressive 15 years. In his time with the force, Dickens has been involved in all types of police work including crowd control at public demonstrations, football matches and concerts, and patrolling crime hotspots.

Dickens, an Irish Thoroughbred cross, now needs to retire from working life as he has developed arthritis, which has caused intermittent lameness.

Another Greater Manchester Police horse, Warwick, has also retired to The Horse Trust's sanctuary in Speen, Buckinghamshire. Eight-year-old Warwick, a 17hh skewbald gelding, has only been working for GMP for four years, but can no longer work as he has developed a condition known as Osteochontritis Dissecans (OCD) in his joints.

"Warwick has a brilliant temperament for police work - he's very level-headed and confident. But sadly he's had a short working life as he can't cope with the impact on his joints," said Mima.

Mima is delighted that the two police horses now have a secure future through being given lifetime sanctuary at the charity's sanctuary for retired horses.

"It's great that after working hard for the people of Manchester, Dickens and Warwick will be able to spend the remainder of their years in the peaceful paddocks at The Horse Trust's Home of Rest," said Mima.

Jeanette Allen, Chief Executive Officer of The Horse Trust, welcomed the two horses to the sanctuary, praising them for the work they have carried out for GMP.

"Dickens and Warwick have carried out vital police work in their time with the Greater Manchester Police, helping preserve public order and reduce crime. We are glad that we are able to thank them for their loyal service by offering them sanctuary and a peaceful place to pass the last years of their lives," said Jeanette.