On patrol – despite the cuts

Sgt Christine Driver and her police horses will be in Blackpool on New Year's Eve.
Sgt Christine Driver and her police horses will be in Blackpool on New Year's Eve.
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A specialised police unit will still take to the streets of Blackpool on New Year’s Eve despite being hit by cutbacks.

Lancashire Mounted Police lost its support staff when money was axed from the budget 12 months ago.

Officers were forced to include grooming and muck out the horses to their daily tasks after the roles were cut.

But bosses of the mounted branch based in Hutton said their presence will continue to still be felt across the region, especially in Blackpool, as they take to the resort’s streets on New Year’s Eve.

Sgt Christine Driver, who heads up Lancashire Mounted Police, said: “It is going to be business as usual for the mounted branch.

“It’s difficult in the police force as it is in every walk of life.

“We are still covering Blackpool and we haven’t been there as much as we would’ve liked.

“We will have officers in the town centre until 2am and we will be covering Blackpool as much as we can.”

Officers on horse back will be patrolling Blackpool town centre as thousands of revellers head out to welcome 2014 in in-style.

Lancashire Police has to save £73m by 2017.

The force has already saved £40m and measures are in place to find a further £20m.

Further demands to find another £13m is a task Chief Con Steve Finnigan has said would be ‘difficult’ to achieve.

Lancashire Mounted Police has 14 police constables and two sergeants which regularly attend football games and demonstrations to keep the peace throughout the year.

Sgt Driver added: “The cuts have taken away our support staff which is difficult but we are managing as much as possible.

“The support staff did all the grooming and look after the stables and that has meant we have had to work harder and longer to maintain the same service.

“Blackpool hasn’t seen as much as us, not because of the cuts, it’s because of the need for resources elsewhere in the county.

“The cuts affected us over 12 months ago, but as with the rest of the police service we deal with what we have.

“We are still doing football at Blackpool and we will be in the town centre on New Year’s Eve, so as far as the public of Blackpool are concerned nothing has changed regarding our presence in Blackpool.”