Role of the Victorian Police - Mounted Branch


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by Georgie Hibbins and Annabel Dick

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Role of the Victorian Police - Mounted Branch

  1. 1. By Georgie Hibbins and Annabel Dick
  2. 2. When Victoria Police was established in 1853, it combined several mounted units together to form the Mounted Branch. By the early 1900s there were 211 Mounted Stations throughout Victoria. After the introduction of the motor car, the last Mounted Station was closed at Buninyong in 1965. The stables of the Mounted Branch are situated on the grounds of the old Police Depot, in the Southbank area. The stables are the original stables built during World War I at the time when the depot was built.
  3. 3. Members of the Mounted Branch unit are required to train on a weekly basis with their horses to maintain their riding skills. It is compulsory that members preserve a high level of physical fitness and undergo specialist training leading up to large crowd control events in conjunction with other police units. Officers chosen to work at the Mounted Branch are Constables or Senior Constables whom have completed probationary training and have a keen interest for performing active police work on horseback. Members of Victoria Police can apply to work at the Mounted Branch after they have completed at least two years ’ service. Applicants must be able to ride before they apply for a position at the branch. The training of riders and horses, takes place at the Mounted Branch Training Complex which is in West Meadows, near the Melbourne Airport.
  4. 4. Uniform As part of the Mounted Branch unit, it is mandatory for members to maintain several uniforms including stable fatigues, general patrols uniform, demonstration uniform and ceremonial uniform. Equipment As well as uniform, specialist equipment is used by the branch including general patrol gear, exercise equipment, demonstration equipment including protective visors for the horses' faces, stock gear for searches and ceremonial accoutrements.
  5. 5. Patrols The Mounted Branch coordinate with local police to tackle problems within the community. They carry out operations including targeting criminal activity such as theft from motor cars, burglaries, drug related activity, street dragging, traffic offences and anti-social behaviour. Crowd control This unit assists in crowd control at demonstrations, large sporting events including soccer matches, major events with increased public attendance including the Formula 1 Grand Prix and any other events where large crowds gather, especially New Year ’ s Eve celebrations.
  6. 6. Searches Another duty performed by the Mounted Branch is to support land-based searches by other units of police for missing/wanted persons or evidence. They have the ability to travel extended distances, combat difficult terrain and search from an elevated platform (being on horseback) making them well suited for the role. Ceremonial duties The Mounted Branch continues to perform a few ceremonial duties. They work some parades including Anzac Day and the Grand Final Parade. The Mounted Branch also has a ceremonial role at police funerals, and graduation parades.
  7. 7. The Mounted Branch dates back to 1853, when the Victoria Police was first established in the colony. At the time, as the Victorian population increased, the Mounted Branch continued to grow extensively throughout Victoria. At this time, it was the only effective method of transport the Victorian Police could use to patrol and operate in society, prior to the invention of the motor car. As such the Mounted Branch was an important unit of the Victorian Police and even though since the invention of the motor car, duties of the Mounted Branch have decreased, it still operates as an important part of the Victorian Police today.
  8. 8. <ul><li>- Training for horses is conducted on a weekly basis in order to ensure they work well on operational duties. </li></ul><ul><li>- The branch uses warm blood-type horses which are specially bred for the work the Mounted Branch completes. </li></ul><ul><li>Horses must be 16.2 hands or higher in order to be used as troop horses. </li></ul><ul><li>- The colour of the horses used is also important, horses of bay, brown, black, grey and chestnut shades are accepted in the Mounted Squad. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Victoria Police involves an eight-step application process for prospective officers. The process is as follows: Step One – Entrance Exam Applicants must first sit a three hour entrance exam. The exam comprises of 5 sections being spelling and comprehension, maths, reasoning ability, English skills / grammar / vocabulary and reading comprehension, and a final writing task. Step Two – Application Lodgement After completion of the exam, applicants must make an appointment to meet with a sergeant at a police station in order to hand in exam results, official documentation and first aid qualifications.
  10. 10. Step Three – Background Checks To be eligible for selection as an officer with Victoria Police you must be of good reputation and disposition. A history of disreputable behaviour or offences may prohibit you from selection. At this step in the process, your application is reviewed and your history is checked for any prior convictions or criminal history. At this stage, applications are reviewed by the management team of Recruiting Services. Step Four – Medical Assessment At this stage, applicants are required to consent to a medical assessment. They are required to attend a general practitioner for a medical examination, attend an audiologist for a hearing assessment, and attend an optometrist/ophthalmologist for a vision assessment. Applicants must undertake a urine sample for alcohol and other drugs, as well as a hepatitis B immunisation.
  11. 11. Step Five – Fitness and Psychological Assessment Fitness Component This component of the application involves an assessment comprising of: -Grip test - to pass must squeeze 30kg with each arm -Illinois agility run - to pass must complete the course under 20secs -20m shuttle run - to pass must complete level 6-10 -Push ups - to pass must complete 5 successful push ups on toes -Prone bridge - to pass must hold a 60secs prone hold -Obstacle climb -  to pass must successfully climb a 1.3m obstacle -100 metre swim - to pass must complete a 100m swim under 4mins
  12. 12. Psychological Component Applicants are required to complete the ‘Minnesota Personality Inventory’ which is used by Victoria Police as a psychological assessment. Results are interpreted by a psychologist from the Victorian Police Clinical Service Branch in order to determine whether applicants can move on to the next step of the application process. Step Six – Selection Panel After successfully passing the fitness and psychological components of the application process, you will be invited to go before a selection panel. The panel are looking for applicants who exhibit behaviours that meet with the organisational values and attendant behaviours of Victoria Police. During the panel, applicants are asked behavioural-based questions with expected responses which include examples of your own behaviours / experiences.
  13. 13. Step Seven – Final Assessment After successfully passing the selection panel, an overall suitability assessment is undertaken of applicants by the Recruiting Service. Step Eight – Candidate Pool If deemed successful after passing the previous steps, applicants are awarded a final score based on their entrance exam results, selection panel interview and any bonus points awarded in the process.
  14. 14. Recruitment training runs for 33 weeks and is conducted at the Victoria Police Academy in Glen Waverly. Over the 33 week period, recruits undertake academic subjects and physical training. Academic subjects include law and policing procedures, communication skills and scenario training. Physical training includes operational policing drills, water safety, defence tactics and firearms training. After successfully completing Week 12 of the training, recruits are sworn in as Probationary Constables and can partake in placements in operational areas. Following week 12 of academy training, recruits have opportunities to participate in weekly placements. Week 13 focuses on Watch House and Station Administration Duties including observing watch house duties, counter inquiries, station administration and prisoner management. Week 18’s placement focuses on Crime Investigation where recruits have the ability to leave the station to assist with operational duties as ‘extras’. Focuses on arrests, investigation and interviews. The week includes a day at the CIU (crime investigation unit) and the Crime Desk. Week 26 focuses on Road Policing in which recruits work with a divisional van/car crew on general duties and work with the Highway Patrol
  15. 15. ‘ Police to launch operation Cat’   The article ‘Police to launch operation Cat’ is about the crackdown which is being placed on Geelong football fans, which will occur on AFL Grand Final Day. The dog squad in conjunction with the mounted branch will join other members of the police force in an effort to get rid of the anti-social behaviour that happens in the regional city centre. The police will focus on drink-driving with backstreets and arterial roads being the main concern, to target those who think they can escape the law. One of the reasons for this crackdown is that the police want everybody to have fun time and celebrate their team being in the Grand Final, but they will not tolerate any rowdy behaviour. The reason the Mounted Branch is operating on this task is because crowd-control is one of their duties as mounted branch officers.  
  16. 16. ‘ Attacks on students ‘clearly racist’: Overland’   The article ‘ Attacks on students ‘clearly racist’: Overland’ is about the recent attacks on Indian students which are considered to the racist. The police force have announced a crackdown on crime at trouble-spot train stations because it has become evident that Indian and international students have been targeted. The crackdown is to ensure that everybody in Victoria can feel safe, because the police are protecting the people to the best of their ability. The mounted police, dog squads and helicopter patrols will be used to enforce this crackdown. This relates to the mounted branches area of work because one of their duties is to assist with patrols of community areas to protect the community.
  17. 17. ‘ 140 nabbed in city booze blitz’   The article ‘ 140 nabbed in city booze blitz’ is about a nationwide crackdown on drunken violence which took place over the recent nights in Melbourne’s CBD. On one night 140 arrests were made including 28 for drink driving across the state. The operation lasted 48 hours and it was aimed at preventing public drunkenness and violence-which involved 446 visits, where 35 venues were caught breaking liquor licensing regulations. Officers from the water branch, transit safety, highway patrol, the mounted branch and other specialised units are a part of this operation. The reason the mounted branch worked on this task is because it is a part of their duties to patrol areas of the community to ensure safety for all citizens.