To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will estimate the (a) number of hours spent by the police on and (b) cost to the police of tackling animal welfare concerns relating to horses in the last 12 months.
11 February 2019
The Home Office does not collect this information. Decisions about the allocation of police resources and deployment of officers are for Chief Constables and democratically accountable PCCs. They are responsible for ensuring the needs of the local community are met.
The Government is supporting the police to respond to changing demand with an over £460m increase in total investment in the police system this financial year, including an increase of around £280m in funding for Police & Crime Commissioners through council tax precept. The Chancellor recognised in his Budget speech that the police are under pressure from the changing nature of crime and that the Home Secretary would review police spending power ahead of the 2019/20 police funding settlement.
Police and local authorities have powers under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to investigate animal welfare issues. We would not expect the police to deal with horse-related welfare problems unless there was a public safety issue, such as horses loose on roads. Anyone can bring a prosecution under the 2006 Act, and it is on this basis that the RSPCA prosecute people for animal cruelty, including to horses.
In relation to the unlawful placement of horses on other people’s land for grazing (fly-grazing), the Control of Horses Act 2015 gives land owners powers to remove horses which have been left on their land without their permission. If anyone is concerned about the welfare of a horse in a field they can report it to the local authority who can investigate under the 2006 Act or they can report it to the RPSCA or World Horse Welfare who will also investigate.