Mumbai to get mounted police unit after eight decades

Mumbai: Horse-riding police personnel would be deployed on Mumbai's streets for traffic and crowd control after a gap of 88 years, the Maharashtra government has announced.

The mounted police unit which patrolled the streets of the bustling metropolis was disbanded in 1932 due to the growing vehicular traffic.

It will be the cynosure of all eyes at the Republic Day parade at Shivaji Park in the city this Sunday.

"Mumbai police has modern jeeps and motorcycles.

However, it was felt a mounted unit would be useful for patrolling in crowded areas. For the first time since Independence, Mumbai will have a mounted police unit," Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said earlier this week.

The city police had put forth the proposal for a mounted unit in 2018.

Police personnel on horseback can be used during festivals, protest marches and also deployed at the city's beaches, he said.

A police personnel on horseback can keep a watch from a vantage point, and be as effective as 30 personnel on the ground, the minister said.

Mounted units would also be set up in Pune, Nagpur and other big cities in future, he added.

The mounted unit in Mumbai will comprise 30 horses, a sub-inspector, an assistant sub-inspector, four havaldars and 32 constables.

"Thirteen horses have been purchased and the rest will be bought in the next six months. Stables will be built on a 2.5 acre plot at Marol (in suburban Andheri)," Deshmukh said.

A team of 61 trainers from the Mumbai Racecourse, riding clubs and the Army's horse unit will be training the Mumbai police.

Officers of the mounted unit will also be trained in show-jumping, tent-pegging and polo. Apart from walkie- talkies, riders would be provided with body-mounted cameras for video recording.

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