On 6 August 2011, the ten horses and their mounted officers were deployed to Seven Sisters Police Station, where buildings and vehicles were alight. Their role was to protect fellow officers, dressed only in their normal patrol uniforms from an encroaching crowd, armed with firework-type rockets.
The horses were surrounded by burning buildings and falling debris, with missiles being launched at them and their officers – a situation far more extreme than any training could have prepared them for. The horses stood their ground, despite being struck on their chests, hindquarters and, on one occasion, the head. Their unwavering determination led to a visible retreat by the crowd which enabled the foot-duty officers to do their job.
From when he first strode out onto the London streets, Deats seemed born for the job and has always worked with enthusiasm and relish. Rode by mounted officer, Constable Nick Amos, Deats proved to be a brave and capable horse during the Tottenham riot.
Hector’s rider, Constable Matt Meadows remembers him as a handsome horse with a great personality that worked well with riders he could trust. Hector was present during the Tottenham riot, and with buildings burning and missiles flying, Hector stood firm. His memory lives on and he is a worthy recipient of the PDSA Order of Merit.
Constable Paul Copeland describes Boris as “as brave as they come, with a lovely calm nature and willingness to work.” Boris is known for his perfect knowledge of every single route back to each police stable and is always eager to return for his hay.
Laurel was still in training when she and her rider, Constable Lynne Frearson,were redeployed to the disorder on the streets of Tottenham. This was the first time she had experienced such violence and hostility but, leading from the front alongside her mentor and stable buddy, Boris, she proved just how brave she is.
Defender and his rider, Sgt Joel Gray, share a very special bond and when they attended the troubles on the streets of Tottenham, Defender helped Sgt Grey perform his duties and protect the public to the best of his ability. He is a trusted companion and a worth recipient of this award.
Intrepid is a popular and much-loved horse at the stables, and has a reputation for being courageous and friendly. At the time of the Tottenham riots he was ten and had six years of duty experience behind him. He serves alongside Constable John Pitt.
General is loved by officers and staff for his kind temperament and gentle manners. General’s rider, Constable Ben Jones describes his valour and the sterling service he provided in protecting the public during the disturbances.
Constable Gary Smith (Retired) calls Judge the best horse he’s ridden in the job, and described him as reliable and brave “to the point where I would have trouble stopping him from going forward, no matter how dire the situation.”
On the night of the Tottenham disorder, ‘Kenny’ was actually a replacement horse for Constable James Foley. Shortly after the unit was deployed in the front line, a large firework rocket was fired directly at Kenny and passed through his legs under his belly. Had the rocket found its target, both horse and rider would have been badly injured. Kenny was astounding that night; he held his ground and barely flinched.
Livingstone was a regular and popular sight in South East London and attended most high-profile events across the capital, including the annual Notting Hill Carnival. Livingstone worked with now-retired Constable Jeff Cowling during the Tottenham riots, who said: “Livingstone is a gentle and trusting animal, full of honesty and great fun to ride.”