About Victoria Police
Release date: Tue 26 October 2010
Last updated: Fri 4 January 2013
The Mounted Branch operates primarily to provide operational mounted support to all areas of Victoria Police.
The Mounted Branch provides high visibility patrols to support local police tackle particular problems. Operations where mounted patrols have been effective in reducing criminal activity include those targeting 'volume' crimes such as theft of motor cars, theft from motor car, burglaries, drug related activity, street drags, traffic offences and anti-social behaviour.
The branch assists in crowd control at demonstrations, sporting events such as soccer matches, major events such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Motorcycle Grand Prix, and any other event where large crowds gather such as New Year's Eve celebrations.
The Mounted Branch is regularly used to support land-based searches for missing or wanted persons or evidence. They have the ability to travel extended distances, transverse difficult terrain and search from an elevated platform making them well suited to this role.
The Mounted Branch still performs a small amount of ceremonial duties, such as regal and vice regal escorts. Some parades are still worked by the branch, including Anzac Day and the Grand Final Parade. The Mounted Branch also has a ceremonial role at police funerals, and graduation parades.
Training of police riders and horses is conducted on a weekly basis to maintain the skill of riders and horses. Members at the Mounted Branch are required to maintain a high level of physical fitness and undergo specialist training to prepare for large crowd control events, with other police units.
The Mounted Branch predominantly uses warmblood-type horses, purchased specifically for police work by the Mounted Branch and then trained for the rigors of police work . The Mounted Branch has a minimum requirement of 16.2hh or higher for its troop horses. A variety of solid colours are accepted, such as bay, brown, black, grey and chestnut. Enquiries regarding prospective police horses should be directed to the Mounted Branch Training Unit.
The branch has a state-of-the-art horse truck, capable of transporting six horses and has sleeping and living quarters for up to four members. To supplement this there are also several 4WD vehicles which each tow a two-horse float.
Uniform and riding equipment
Members are required to maintain several uniforms at the Mounted Branch, including stable fatigues, general patrols uniform, demonstration uniform and ceremonial uniform.
Horses have been used by police in Victoria since Military Mounted Police rode into the colony in 1836. The establishment of Victoria Police in 1853 brought several mounted units together under the banner of the Mounted Branch. Horse and rider numbers increased in line with Victoria's population, till they reached a peak in the early 1900s with 211 Mounted Stations throughout the state. The introduction of the motor car replaced the horses at these stations until the last Mounted Station at Buninyong was closed in 1965.
The Mounted Branch periodically opens its doors to the public for 'Police Open Day' events and as part of other Melbourne based initiatives such as the Melbourne Openhouse Scheme. Details regarding events are advertised ahead of time. Persons wishing to attend an open day should contact the Branch to find when the next event is scheduled.
Victoria Police Mounted Branch