After such a tumultuous era the following year (1912) saw the first of many successes in the Horse Show ring.
Around this time also several Royal Escorts were performed including two at Chester for the King.
In 1914, the department had an establishment of:
There were fifty four horses on the strength and others were hired as and when required. Several of the local forces which were later to form part of our present force had small Mounted Units, these included St Helens, Southport and Wallasey.
The advent of the 1914 -1918 War saw a rapid mechanisation to the Liverpool Police Force. The Police , Fire and Prison vans were motorised and this resulted in a re-organisation of the Mounted Department. The days of horse drawn transport were numbered and this was felt by The Mounted and Transport Department. The first vehicle was a large heavy prison van. This vehicle was used to collect prisoners from outlying stations and bring them to the Main Bridewell for court appearances. This task was formerly carried out by horse transport, the first cool wind of redundancy was felt by the Department as it is shown in the Departments Horse Register:
“ Horse No 20 A Chesnut Gelding, 14 years old, sold on the 4th January 1913 for £19.8s 6d, made redundant owing to the introduction of a motor traction vehicle in the prison van service.
Due to the outbreak of the war in 1914, the younger men went to the army and the older men remained and were joined by civilian drivers.
In 1919 the war was over, the value of the motor vehicle was realised and as the Liverpool City Police was mechanised, the horses were not replaced and by 1924 the Transport Section was completely mechanised and the number of horses reduced to forty -four as below.
By 1924 the strength of the department was reduced to
There were now forty- four horses.
During the early years of the Department, the services of a good driver were considered of greater value than those of a good rider, although the mounted men were given a certain amount of appreciation as the following extract from the Standing Orders of 1926 shows:- “ One mounted man who knows how to do his duty is worth a dozen men on foot, but if he does not do his duty discreetly, he may cause twice as much complaint” This bold statement holds true to this very day.
The members of the Mounted Department were then required to work a 12 hour day whilst the remainder of the force worked 8 hours. This was due to the stable duties etc. And for the extra duties they were given a small remuneration. The welfare of the men was obviously given some consideration as Standing Orders 1926 also stated:- “ The Sergeant must not allow any intoxicating drinks to be kept in the station, but may allow a reasonable quantity to be brought in for dinner or supper.”
The department nevertheless, during the years following the Great War built up a high reputation for their equestrian skills and immaculate turnout. A musical ride of sixteen horses was formed as well as a mounted section vaulting and skill- at- arms team.
In 1927, the Gladstone Dock was opened by King George V and once again the Mounted Department provided the escort.
The need for a new more compact and central headquarters for the Mounted Department was recognised. In October 1938 the present headquarters at Greenhill Road was opened. It was considered a very sumptuous place as it also included a large indoor riding school and training field.
It provided accommodation for twenty-seven horses later increasing to twenty –nine. Greenhill Road ( North and South Groves ) also provided accommodation for twenty four mounted personnel in semi -detached housing.
Things seemed to settle down well for the Department in their new HQ but in 1939 During the War twenty seven of the Departments horses were allowed to stabled at Knowsley Hall, home of Lord Derby as a precautionary measure against enemy attack, being looked after by a sergeant and six constables, the horse were later returned to Greenhill Road
During the Second World War the majority of the Mounted Officers were posted to divisions or joined the Armed Forces. Two members of the Department were killed whilst serving with the Royal Air Force.
After the war things returned to normal and our duties at local football matches regularly involved controlling crowds upwards of seventy thousand. There were also escorts for the Lord Mayor of Liverpool. Orange Lodge Processions and various other processions, and demonstrations to be policed.
The department during the years following the war has provided many instances of valuable aid to our divisional colleagues. These include Royal Visits, The World Cup of 1966 The Civic Reception for “The Beatles” , Regular returns to the City by Liverpool and Everton Football clubs for Civic parades.
These duties have been both regular and important parts of the Mounted Department function and the years up to the Force amalgamation in 1974 seem to have been fairly uneventful.
With the creation of the Merseyside Police in 1974 the department took on fresh responsibilities in relation to the large areas that now had to be patrolled. We found that the foreshores of Southport, Crosby, Hoylake and West Kirby ideal for our specialised patrols during the holiday season, we regularly patrol these areas. It is recognised that ground which is either inaccessible or difficult to foot men can more effectively be covered by Mounted Officers on horseback.
Over the years the Mounted Department has been involved in a lot of very high profile duties .
The Toxteth Riots of 1981 (the horses were deployed for the first night but then withdrawn for public safety reasons)
The Miners Strike,
High Profile Pop Concerts at Aintree Racecourse ( Michael Jackson ) of course not forgetting the Annual Grand National Race Meeting in which the Winner was escorted by the Department with the Officers wearing their Full Ceremonial Dress Uniform, based on the uniform of the 4th Dragoon Guards Regiment.
Including the 1997 Grand National meeting that was cancelled by an IRA Bomb threat were the Mounted Department assisted in clearing the Racecourse of thousand’s of Racegoers.