In Loving Memory of Bugsy

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The City of London Police Mounted Branch, supported by Speedi-Beet, have had a busy few months and sadly had to say goodbye to a very special horse…
We have been under threat of closure due to the spending cuts that have been imposed on the police service nationally. As a result we are currently looking at alternative funding streams to ensure our future. If we are unable to secure funding for the Branch then we will have to close in April 2017.
In the meantime we have had some other sad news – our longest serving police horse had to be put to sleep two weeks ago. Bugsy, who was officially known as James after ex-Commissioner James Hart CBE QPM, joined the City Police in 2004. At over 18 hands, he was the biggest horse on the force, and was also the first piebald (black and white) horse in the country to serve with the police.
Bugsy was involved in all the major deployments of police horses in London over the last eleven years, including the G20 protests in 2009, the student demonstrations in 2009 and 2010, the London riots of 2011, the Olympics, Trooping the Colour, the State Opening of Parliament, and every Lord Mayor’s show in the last ten years. He was known as a very brave, courageous and loyal horse. In 2014, he escorted the Lord Mayor’s coach at the Lord Mayor’s Show. He was a very steady and solid horse that could be relied on to mentor new police horses as they came into service. His calming presence helped many of the current horses to come through their training.

However, as well as being a consummate professional while on the job, Bugsy had a cheeky side. Jesse Wynne, a Sergeant in the Mounted Branch, says: “He wasn’t just our biggest horse – he was one of the biggest personalities too. He was a ladies’ man, and had a real distrust of men, sometimes used to do a runner up the yard while they were trying to put his kit on! He also had a real love-hate relationship with our farrier, and point-blank refused to be shod at Wood Street Police Station. He only allowed the farrier anywhere near him at Bushy Park Stables.”
Bugsy loved tomatoes, and it wasn’t unknown for him to unseat his rider occasionally and find his own way home as if nothing had happened. He was also known for his love of a good shoulder scratch, keeping officers as scratching slaves until he was happy.
Unfortunately, in recent years he had suffered from arthritis in his front legs and this had got progressively worse, and after veterinary advice the decision was made that it would be in his best interests to be put down.
Sergeant Wynne added, “He was greatly loved by all officers and staff and his loss will be felt deeply.”
On a happier note, Mounted Branch took part in a 999 family day on Haywards Heath last weekend organised by Sussex Constabulary. Their display so impressed the Sussex Police Crime Commissioner that she has asked the City officers and horses back next year
The aim of the day was to raise awareness of the community to the good work that the emergency services undertake and to engage with the members of the public.The Mounted Branch put on a riding display that according to Adam Duly, the event organiser of Sussex Police was “as always a crowd pleaser and after speaking with many members of the public yesterday, your team were certainly THE main attraction and from seeing how many surrounded you after your display, this was clear.
“The display was extremely well drilled, professional and very informative. Your officers were also professional, well presented and a credit to The City Of London Police Service.”
Sergeant Jess Wynne who provided commentary during the display said: “This was an excellent example of inter-services working and the team did a fantastic job. It involved lots of hard work and practice, but the final product was a real crowd pleaser. PCs Ian Jefferies, Kim Ashton, Simon Barr, Nicky Allen and Kerry Jervis really represented the force in the most professional manner.”