Tuesday, 24 October 2017

‘Robust’ policing of regatta visitors

POLICE are promising a “robust” approach to crime during Henley Royal Regatta.

POLICE are promising a “robust” approach to crime during Henley Royal Regatta.

More than 80 officers will be on duty in the town centre and on the Berkshire side of the river and designated public place orders will be used to confiscate alcohol from people drinking in the street.

This was the successful strategy adopted by police last year, when there were only 25 crimes committed during the regatta compared with 45 the year before.

Insp Mark Harling, head of Henley police, said: “We’re hoping that we can replicate what happened last year.When you consider there are 200,000 people who visit during the regatta, 25 crimes across five days is an incredibly low number.

“Everyone displayed a degree of enthusiasm and professionalism and where incidents did take place, we got there quickly, managed to defuse it and deal with it appropriately.

“There will be a lot of people who celebrate different aspects of the regatta and if we’re able to keep crime at the same level I will be pleased. We will do our best to make it a safe but enjoyable event.”

Chief Insp Robert France, area commander for Wokingham area, who will be overseeing the Berkshire side of the river, said: “We will have a lot of licensed venues where there usually aren’t any and one of my big concerns is to make sure that doesn’t impact adversely on local residents.

“We will be working hard to ensure that those few people who, often under the influence of alcohol, make a nuisance of themselves do not spoil the event for the majority.

“We will be taking a firm approach to prevent and deter any incidents of crime and antisocial behaviour in order to minimise any nuisance or disruption to local residents.”

Insp France said the number of officers would be increased next Friday and Saturday, when the regatta bars and the town centre are at its busiest with visitors.

“This is a great sporting and social event,” he said. “Come to the regatta and have a good time but remember there are residents here. It’s a community you are coming to so behave sensibly and you will have a great time.

“If you start to cause a nuisance and a risk of disorder the police response will be a robust one.”

Police will use Twitter to provide the public with updates about their operation as well as information about train times and traffic congestion.

There will be 13 buses to Reading on Friday and Saturday evening between 10.30pm and 2.30am and one to High Wycombe at 12.30am on Saturday night.

The operation will cost Henley Town Council more than £2,200, with donations being made by Wokingham Borough Council, the royal regatta and the Angel on the Bridge.

lA traffic warning has been issued for today (Friday) by Henley Royal Regatta. It is advising crews taking part in qualifying races that conditions will be “very bad” in the afternoon and have asked them to aim to arrive two hours early. Last year, some crews took four hours to travel from London to Henley.

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