GMP’s mounted unit are working with The British Horse Society (BHS) in an effort to reduce the number of accidents involving horses on the roads.
The Safer Pass initiative has been designed to highlight the safe distance and speed which is required when passing a horse on the road. GMP have recognised hotspot areas where incidents are more likely to occur and will use plain-clothed mounted officers to identify drivers who are committing an offence by passing horses too close or too fast.
Officers from GMP’s Mounted Unit are planning operations throughout the week of Monday 9 September whereby any drivers stopped will be given advice by the officers and the BHS on how they should safely pass horses on the road.
The key messages from the BHS on how to pass a horse on the road are:
If I see a horse on the road then I will:
Slow down to a maximum of 15mph
Be patient. I won’t sound my horn or rev my engine
Pass wide and slow (if safe to do so) at least a car’s width if possible
Drive slowly away
Riders can submit video footage of incidents via GMP’s online reporting system at www.gmp.police.uk.
Riders with or without video footage should report any incidents to the British Horse Society’s online reporting system at horseaccidents.org.uk
PC Matthew Hill said: “Riding our police horses on the road is something we do every day so we are highly aware of the near misses caused by people driving too close or too fast. A huge misconception about police horses is that they can cope with anything, but at the end of the day, they are still animals and can still react regardless of the specialised training they receive.
“The advice I give to other riders is to talk out loud about the incident as it is happening and say the registration of the vehicle when it passes. This allows us to pick up the audio as well as the visual footage from the video provided and helps us determine exactly what happened at the time.
“We are working in partnership with the BHS to raise awareness of this issue and are encouraging anyone who has video footage of a near miss or a collision to report it to us using our online service.”
Sergeant James Burnett of the Roads Policing Unit said: “We are actively working with our partners to establish approved signage to support the Safer Pass initiative. This will have an educational theme highlighting the importance of travelling at an appropriate speed and allowing sufficient room to pass safely.
“GMPs Roads Policing Unit continues to work with the Mounted Unit and BHS to increase public awareness and promote the Safe Pass scheme.”
Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at The British Horse Society said: “Collaborating on the Safer Pass initiative with GMP is a brilliant way for us to deliver our key safety messages to an audience that we may not usually be able to reach. Horses are flight animals and can react suddenly to something they are unsure of. We encourage as many riders to report any incidents they are involved in to the BHS as well as the police, as it gives us a greater understanding of the scale of the issue and to collate statistics to strengthen our voice when lobbying government.”