It’s time for horseplay

South Yorks Police Mounted Section at Ring Farm,Cudworth,Police Horse 'Hallam' retires after 17 years service leaves to go to the charity Horses and Ponies Protection Assoc....Pictured is PC Alison Akers with Hallam
South Yorks Police Mounted Section at Ring Farm,Cudworth,Police Horse 'Hallam' retires after 17 years service leaves to go to the charity Horses and Ponies Protection Assoc....Pictured is PC Alison Akers with Hallam

ONE of South Yorkshire Police’s most dedicated servants retired this week.

Over 17 years, he has played a leading role in keeping order at football matches and other events, representing the force on ceremonial occasions and helping to train colleagues.

But now police horse Hallam is going into retirement at the age of 21 – the equivalent of 88 in human years.

Sgt Melissa Gill, who has worked with Hallam in the mounted police department for eight years at Ring Farm in Cudworth, Barnsley, and been on many patrols with him, said it was “a sad day for everybody.

“I’ve got mixed emotions. Although he’s well due for retirement, he’s been everything to everybody. He’s so easy to look after and to work with, and has taught so many people to ride.”

Hallam has completed more than 35,000 hours of service, going on patrol at 690 football matches, including matches at Hillsborough in Euro ’96.

He is also fondly remembered for occasions such as on Remembrance Sunday parades and welcoming troops home from Afghanistan.

Sgt Gill said: “He loves being at the front of a parade – he turns into a Lipizzaner stallion.

“They love all the attention. When they’re at the football they switch on and know their job.

“It’s one of the old-fashioned methods of policing. As an officer in a car or on foot you have very little opportunity to stop for members of the public, but on a horse everybody’s pleased to see you.”

Hallam, who was bought for £4,000 in 1994, has had nine different riders. In recent years, his workload has reduced but he has played a part in escorting inexperienced horses during training.

Police horses usually retire at 15. “He has carried on working because, to his credit, he’s been in good health and never suffered with anything. He’s got pretty basic requirements – he eats very little and does his job!”

Now he will spend retirement at the Horse and Pony Protection Association in Burnley.

“He’s going on to a new chapter in his life, “ said Sgt Gill. “He’ll get some TLC and put his feet up for a while.”

His replacement is a six-year-old called Woody, selected by mounted section officers from Trowell near Derby.

However, the South Yorkshire force is asking for a new name because as all its horses are given names related to South Yorkshire.

“It could be Woodhouse – that could work quite well!”