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City’s longest-serving horse put down

Today, City of London Police said goodbye to the City’s longest-serving horse. “Bugsy”, who was officially known as James after ex-Commissioner James Hart CBE QPM, joined the City Police in 2004. At over 18 hands, he was the biggest horse on the force, and was also the first piebald (black and white) horse in the country to serve with the police.

Bugsy was involved in all the major deployments of police horses in London over the last eleven years, including the G20 protests in 2009, the student demonstrations in 2009 and 2010, the London riots of 2011, the Olympics, Trooping the Colour, the State Opening of Parliament, and every Lord Mayor’s show in the last ten years. He was known as a very brave, courageous and loyal horse. In 2014, he escorted the Lord Mayor’s coach at the Lord Mayor’s Show. He was a very steady and solid horse that could be relied on to mentor new police horses as they came into service. His calming presence helped many of the current horses to come through their training.

However, as well as being a consummate professional while on the job, Bugsy had a cheeky side. Jesse Wynne, a Sergeant in the Mounted Branch, says: “He wasn’t just our biggest horse – he was one of the biggest personalities too. He was a ladies’ man, and had a real distrust of men, sometimes used to do a runner up the yard while they were trying to put his kit on! He also had a real love-hate relationship with our farrier, and point-blank refused to be shoed at Wood Street Police Station. He only allowed the farrier anywhere near him at Bushy Park Stables.”

Bugsy loved tomatoes, and it wasn’t unknown for him to unseat his rider occasionally and find his own way home as if nothing had happened. He was also known for his love of a good shoulder scratch, keeping officers as scratching slaves until he was happy.

Unfortunately, in recent years he had suffered from arthritis in his front legs and this had got progressively worse, and after veterinary advice the decision was made that it would be in his best interests to be put down.

Sergeant Wynne added, “He was greatly loved by all officers and staff and his loss will be felt deeply.”