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Royals Mark 190th Anniversary of New South Wales Mounted Police

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have been treated to a display of mounted police troop drills and crowd control during a visit to the NSW Mounted Police barracks.

The force’s longest-serving female mounted police officer, Sergeant Karen Owen, led the drills on Thursday morning.

Sgt Owen has served with the mounted police for 32 years.

The display followed a visit by Prince Charles to the barracks museum while Camilla toured the stables.

The mounted police is celebrating its 190th anniversary this year, making it the world’s oldest continuously operating unit. Founded by Governor Thomas Brisbane, on 7 September 1825, the Mounted Police were recruited from a British military regiment stationed in NSW at the time, to protect travellers and suppress convict escapees.

For over a century they were a key part of policing, as horses were the main form of transport. The unit was formed three years before the London Mounted Police and 38 years prior to the 1873 formation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

By the 1900s the Mounted Police had grown to a strength of over 800 personnel and more than 900 horses. Most stations throughout the state had mounted units attached to them. 

The prince and duchess were joined by NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, his wife Joy and NSW Police Minister Troy Grant with a demonstration put on for them by the Riding for the Disabled.

The royal couple took time to speak to mounted officers and RDA participants to learn about their horses and their roles, and signed the barracks guestbook.

The royals arrived in Sydney early on Thursday ahead of a packed schedule, which includes a public meet and greet in Martin Place and a dinner hosted by Governor General Peter Cosgrove at Admiralty House.

Mr Scipione said the visit by the horse-loving royals left officers buzzing.

He spoke to Charles during the demonstration and said the pair seemed to enjoy the show.

“(Prince Charles) would have liked more time here in fact,” Mr Scipione told reporters.

“He was certainly looking forward to going down and moving into Martin Place, and having a chance to meet with a whole range of people. They seemed very excited.”