The NSW Police Force has celebrated the merging of two historical units to form the Dog and Mounted Command, in a continued effort to improve capabilities, reduce crime and serve the community.
The Mounted Unit, formed in 1825, is the longest continuous Mounted Unit in the world and is comprised of 36 police officers, nine unsworn staff (‘grooms’) and 32 police horses.
The Dog Unit, formed in 1932, is the largest police dog unit in Australia with more than 100 police officers, eight civilian staff and more than 100 police dogs.
Both units are specialist resources and have dedicated 283 years of combined service to protecting the community and providing support to frontline officers across NSW.
Under an organisational realignment, the units officially merged on Monday 24 February 2020, to become the NSW Police Force Dog and Mounted Command, under the Police Transport and Public Safety Command.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, The Hon. David Elliott MP, said the merging of these units will bring the NSWP Police Force animal capabilities together under a single leadership.
“The Dog and Mounted Unit will continue to showcase the effectiveness and professionalism we expect from these police resources.
“The unique partnership between officers and their working companions will remain a valuable policing tool to disrupt and respond to crime, as well as engaging with the community.”
Police Transport and Public Safety Commander, Assistant Commissioner Karen Webb APM, said police dogs and horses are resources which are relied upon for operations and special events across the state.
“Whenever there is a major event, visitor or protest in New South Wales – the dogs and horses are the first resource to be requested,” Assistant Commissioner Webb said.
“The demand for our four-legged enforcers continues to grow and in merging these two critical commands, our officers remain committed to developing the right animals for a policing role.”
Dog and Mounted Unit Commander, Superintendent Peter McErlain, said the combining of the two units is an historical moment for the NSW Police Force.
“Members of the community feel reassured and safe when our officers and their canine or equine partners are called upon – and that will continue under this newly merged unit,” Supt McErlain said.
“Each of our officers, both handlers and riders, are equipped with a highly-specialised and impressive skill-set, making them an asset to any investigation or policing response.”
Patron of the Dog and Mounted Command, Mrs Andrea Fuller, said there could be no better combination than dogs and horses when it comes to protecting the public.
“I am extremely proud – both as a member of the community and as the Patron of the Dog and Mounted Command – to see these officers patrolling the streets of New South Wales,” Mrs Fuller said.
“I have always felt a strong sense of admiration for these officers, whose partnership with their animals goes above and beyond the call of duty.”
This year, the command will also celebrate 195 years of Mounted Unit service, and 88 years of the Dog Unit’s capabilities.