Farewell to Paddington as officers pay tribute to retiring police horse

19 Apr 2018 14:30 PM

Paddington1 [View Full Size]

The final whistle has finally blown on an illustrious career as one of Northumbria Police’s fondest four-legged friends heads into retirement.

Paddington, also known as Bob, has closely followed the fortunes of Newcastle United and Sunderland in recent years as a match day regular outside St James’ Park and the Stadium of Light.

Weighing in at three-quarters of a tonne and standing tall at over 17 hands high, the Irish Draft Cross has made quite the impact since pulling on the uniform in Northumbria’s Mounted Section at Kirkley Hall, near Ponteland, having previously worked in Cleveland Police until 2014.

Sergeant Stu Coates has watched Paddington’s progress closely during his time on the section and was among those to pay tribute to the outgoing stalwart.

“Paddington has been an invaluable match day horse involved in most of the major local and national clashes,” he said.

“He is fearless when faced with angry crowds, but does have a fear of crisp packets, flags and bubbles! Unbelievable!

“Paddington has always been well behaved - although he can be quite bolshie.

“He has served the communities of Cleveland and Northumbria diligently and has protected the public and officers for many years. His role in supporting community engagement and crime prevention alongside his public order function has been invaluable.

“He is much-loved and will be missed greatly by officers and grooms alike. Happy retirement!”

It’s an emotional end of an era for esteemed crime-fighter Paddington, who arrived on Tyneside following the closure of Cleveland Police’s Mounted Section in 2014.

He moved north with fellow police horse, Pye (aka Ranger), who retired last year and found a local home to live out his well-deserved retirement. 

The pair will now be reunited, after Paddington enjoyed his final day in the force last week.

Paddington leaves behind eight close colleagues in the stables, all of whom also have names beginning with a ‘P’ so they can be identified as working for the police.

Percy, Phoenix, Patronus, Parker, Punch, Picasso, Peroni and Puzzle remain part of the Mounted Section, and continue to play a vital role across the region.

“Our Mounted Section is a brilliant department and undertakes vast and diverse roles to help officers working across the Force area and beyond,” Sgt Coates said.

“Our horses are invaluable when it comes to policing football matches, large-scale events and protests in our region.

“They undergo a huge amount of training to be able to perform, but love coming into work every day and meeting the lovely people who live and work in the North East.”

To keep up-to-date with the horses’ activity, follow them on Twitter at @NPHorses.