ONE of the tougher elements of the city’s thin blue line is coming to its final hurdle, after it was confirmed this week that elite horses from Lothian and Borders Police are to be transferred to the west of Scotland permanently ahead of the creation of the single national force next year.
Four horses and their riders will remain in Ayrshire after a successful three-month trial policing major events, including Hearts v Liverpool and Hibs v Celtic.
The change means patrols on the streets of Edinburgh by Viscount, aged 13, Fife, aged 11, Rocky, aged nine, and youngster Fusilier, aged six, are likely to be rarer now they are based in the village of Stewarton.
The city’s mounted section has long been a highly regarded and highly visible part of Lothian and Borders Police.
In 1935, they were on hand to help hold back thousands of protesters on Princes Street who had turned out for a demonstration by the Protestant Action Society against a civic reception accorded to the Scottish National Conference of the Catholic Young Men’s Society.
They have most often been used to quell disturbances at football matches, and in 1950 they had a huge job on their hands making sure there was no trouble amongst the 65,000 fans who turned out for the Edinburgh derby at Easter Road.
Keeping the animals fit for duty was important, and in the 1950s the mounted section were regularly around the Cowgate for morning exercise.
So while the horses will still be deployed in the city whenever they are needed, it is worth remembering the important role they have played in local policing.