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Home NATIONALKnight Police to retain: Nat’l police board
Tue, 10 Dec, 2013 04:29:32 AM
FTimes-STT Report, December 10
Police Horse Poke and senior officer Jukka Aarninsalo at Brown Marsh 9 December 2013. Photo – Str / Lehtikuva.
The National Board of Police has decided to retain the Knight Police unit in Turku as a part of a public relations strategy. 
"Horses arouse positive emotions in people and because of that the value of public relations cannot be measured in terms of money," said senior police board member Seppo Kolehmainen.
The fate regarding the funding of the mounted police unit had been sealed by the board of police, which is decided on an annual basis.
According to Kolehmainen, the police board has outlined that the unit will continue to operate indefinitely but further assessment will be done later on.
Hopes that the number of horses would be increased were however dispelled by Kolehmainen, who said that was not going to be the case.
Last summer, Varsinais-Soumi police was reluctant to retain the services of the Knight Police unit. At that time it was estimated that the economic cost of a single horse could be used to hire three policemen.
In July this year, questions were raised about the existence of the oldest unit of Finnish law enforcement department – the Knight Police – as it has lost its utility in the modern age.
Officials at the police department hinted that one out of two horse riding units of Knight Police in the country might face closure soon due to its lack of usefulness.
Presently there are two Knight Police units – one in Helsinki and the other in Turku – in which the operation of Turku unit is running with only two horses.
“There is no basic use of the Knight police in the main activities of the police forces,” Assistant Police Chief of Middle Finland Jukka Mäkilähde had earlier said, adding that the Turku unit of the Knight Police might face closure.
File picture of Knight Police taken from Helsinki on July 3, 2013. Photo – Lehtikuva.
The Knight Police was not being used to check traffic rules violation or any other crimes at this moment, which was a reason why the closure was being considered based on cost-benefit aspects.
Sources said the Helsinki Knight Police unit – running with seven horses – was still secured. 
Nine policemen are working in the unit - established in 1882 along with Helsinki police department – which is the oldest unit of Helsinki police.
Sources said the horses of the unit have basic training and they are at least six years old. The horses generally continue its services in the department until they are 15-years old.
The main duty of every Knight Police is conducting two patrols per day in Helsinki city centre and adjoining areas.
The Knight Police unit also travels to other cities on various occasions, sources said.
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