Message from the Chief Commissioner

Mounted Branch Fact Sheet

Thu 2 December 2010

Learn about the Mounted Branch with Constables Chris and Kitty

Horses have been used by police in Victoria since the Military Mounted Police rode into the colony in 1836. The establishment of Victoria Police brought several mounted units together, under the banner of the Mounted Branch. Horse and rider numbers increased in line with Victoria's population, reaching a peak in the early 1900s with 211 Mounted Stations throughout the state. The introduction of the motor car replaced horses at these stations, until the last Mounted Station at Buninyong was closed in 1965.

  • The stables of the Mounted Branch are on the grounds of the old police depot, close to St Kilda Road in Southbank. These stables are the original stables built in 1912 for 14,000 pounds. 
  • In its activities, the Mounted Branch provides operational mounted support to all areas of Victoria Police.
  • The Mounted Branch helps with 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, like New Year's Eve celebrations.
  • The Mounted Branch also performs a number of ceremonial duties, such as Police Remembrance Day, regal and vice-regal escorts. Some parades are still worked by the branch, such as Anzac Day and the AFL Grand Final parade. The branch also has a ceremonial role at police funerals and graduation parades at the Victoria Police Academy.
  • Other Mounted Branch duties involve community-based work, as well as duties such as searching for missing persons, drugs and evidence.  
  • Horse training is conducted on a weekly basis so the horses work well on operational duties.
  • The Mounted Branch uses warm blood-type horses, which are bred specially for police work at the Mounted Branch. 
  • Horses must be 16.2 hands high or higher to be troop horses. The colour of a horse is also important, and horses of bay, brown, black, grey and chestnut shades are accepted into the Mounted Squad.
  • The horses are transported in a horse truck that can fit six horses.  This unit also has sleeping and living quarters for up to four members. There are also several four-wheel drive vehicles that are used to tow horse floats.
  • Members of Victoria Police can apply to work at the Mounted Branch after they have completed at least two years' service. Applicants must be able to ride before they apply for a position at the branch.
 
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