A TOWN mayor hopes anti-social youths will be calmed by the urge to stroke new police horse patrols.
The clip clop of horses’ hooves will become a familiar sound around Saltney as police step up their patrols to access areas police cars cannot reach.
Four horses are being deployed in an initiative to target crime hotspots in North Wales.
Saltney Town Mayor Klaus Armstrong-Braun hopes the temptation to stroke the animals will calm local teenagers previously engaged in anti-social behaviour.
He said: “I welcome this initiative as it is believed it calms problem teenagers and reduces tension as people usually stroke the horses or if still rowdy, the horses moving towards them soon disperses the rowdy.”
North Wales Police have been deploying their mounted section, based in Wrexham, in the Eastern area since February and each police ward will be visited.
It has cost £215,288 to divert from primary duties and train the five police officers now riding the horses in North Wales.
But North Wales Police say the expected running cost of the unit will be less than £100,000 which would otherwise fund only two full-time police officers on foot patrol.
They argue the sound of horses hooves can alert people to the presence of police when they would often go unnoticed.
A spokesman said: “North Wales Police has evidence that more people see the mounted unit than they do PCSOs, CBMs and response officers.”
The force says they decided to deploy regular mounted patrols after a successful operation in Wrexham town centre in 2005. Violent crime at night had escalated so overtime officers, then the dog patrol were tried. With figures continuing to rise, horses from Greater Manchester Police were brought in and crime was “greatly reduced”.
They will deal with dispersal orders stemming form anti-social behaviour, gather intelligence by talking with local people and exercising stop and search powers.