So I was casually strolling back from Uni today when I saw something that struck me as fairly odd. Two Mounted Policemen (sorry Police "Officers" - one of them was a woman) were taking details off a guy, who, judging by the rather stressed and animated appearance, I presume had just been mugged. Well, either that or I'm an awful judge of character and he'd actually just committed an offence but hey, benefit of the doubt and all. Anyway, I bet when he called the police he wasn't expecting a scene straight out of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Now it wasn't so much the fact they were taking details of him that I found strange, nor the fact that the police were using horses as a means of transport - it was the surroundings this was all taking place in that really struck me as odd. We've all seen mounted police at football matches and other situations where there are large crowds of people gathered in one place (there they are at riots, demonstrations etc, trying to be intimidating when really all people want to do is stroke the horses), but when was the last time you saw a mounted policeman riding to peoples rescue in a city centre(well, a park in a city centre if I'm being completely honest but nevertheless...)?
As I watched all this taking place, my mind was filled with various images of Police galloping after thieves, jumping fences Tony McCoy esq, charging down the roads in a way that would make Frankie Dettori proud, all in the pursuit of justice. I was also struck by where the notion of how they could possibly, should this man indeed be a criminal, transport him to the nearest prison. Would they sling him over the back of the horse a la The Good, The Bad and The Ugly? Admittedly, there was also the image of horses with red and blue flashing lights on their heads but hey the mind wanders...
While thinking all this I also realised just how unique this scene was in the days when the police are equipped with Helicopters, suped up BMW's, Yamaha motorbikes, Suzuki dirt bikes, even flash mountain bikes. In essence, all of the man made contraptions that deem horses pretty much useless, yet there they were, these keepers of the peace, astride their stallions, defying modernisation and bringing the Wild West to Leeds.
Now, any takers for quick draw duel outside the union?