Bluey shows true horse sense for police action

Sen Const Jason Burnham with his mount Bluey. d408586
Sen Const Jason Burnham with his mount Bluey. d408586

The statuesque, 16.3 hand, percheron cross, has completed his first year of training since joining the mounted police two years ago.

Officer-in-charge of the mounted section Sen Sgt Glen Potter searched the country for suitable horses and came across Bluey in Bingara, north of Tamworth, in New South Wales.

‘When he arrived he was almost half the size he is now,’ Sgt Potter said.

‘He is only five years old and won’t be fully grown until he’s six.

‘For the first year we kept him here until he was ready to start training.

‘He’s still on probation, but he’s doing very well and his work load will increase after 12 months.’

Bluey led his first patrol at a recent refugee action group protest in Perth and was on duty in Fremantle during the Dockers-Hawks Grand Final.

He is also tipped to lead next year’s Anzac Day patrol.

Sgt Potter said the gelding’s calm temperament, combined with his solid build, made him the perfect police horse.

He had to undergo desensitisation to commotion training, nuisance and riot work to graduate and will assist in numerous frontline operations, including search and rescue, riot control and general patrols.

‘The horses here are tough ” a lot tougher than people realise ” and they work hard, 10 hour shifts, four to five days a week, but they get the best treatment,’ Sgt Potter said.

‘One horse equals about 10 coppers. When you arrive on the horses, people know you are there and the crime rate tends to goes down.

‘People are also naturally drawn to them ” they might not like cops, but they do like horses.’

Mounted section Sen Const Jason Burnham said Bluey was one of the mounted section’s favourite horses.

‘It’s such an advantage being up on a horse, they’re used for observing, intimidation and manoeuvrability,’ Const Burnham said.

WA Police has a complete frontline mounted unit, which comprises 25 to 30 horses, with officers deployed as far away as Broome each year to assist regional WA officers with large events and antisocial behaviour.