Saturday, 24 June 2017

Police officers doubled for royal regatta week

UP to 150 officers will be on duty during this year’s Henley Royal Regatta — double the number at last year’s event.

The force will be patrolling the town and the banks of the River Thames during the five-day extravaganza, which runs from June 28 to July 2 and is expected to attract 200,000 people.

There will be 120 officers deployed in the town during the event, compared with 60 last year, but numbers will rise to 150 on Saturday evening.

Chief Superintendent Richard List, who will be in charge of the Thames Valley Police operation, said: “Our role is to keep disruption to a minimum and to make sure that antisocial behaviour and drunkenness do not prevent visitors from having a great experience at the world famous regatta.

“People come to Henley to enjoy the exceptional rowing and to have a great time with family and friends. I want everyone to enjoy themselves.

“Myself and my team are here to ensure public safety and we will use the powers as much as possible to prevent crime. We’re very proud to police an event like Henley Royal Regatta. Events such as these brings their own unique challenges, and we’re well-experienced in handling them.

“I’m confident that our officers will once again police the event in a friendly and open manner, welcoming our visitors from all over the world.” 

Superintendent Nigel Doak has advised visitors to limit the amount of alcohol they bring with them to the event, and urged them to drink responsibly. 

He said: “Our officers can, and will, confiscate alcohol from anyone found drinking in the streets. 

“We do not want people to bring vast amounts of alcohol with them.  Large amounts of alcohol may well be confiscated and they can even be arrested, if that’s appropriate.”

Police will also use section 35 powers to remove people from an area for 48 hours if they are causing a nuisance.

Last year 32 arrests were made in the town during the regatta, compared with 35 in 2015 and 15 in 2014. 

The majority of these were public order offences and were relatively minor, the force said.

In the run-up to the event Thames Valley Police have once again worked with councils on both sides of the river, in addition to licensees, other emergency services, and transport agencies.

All venues on the Berkshire bank close at midnight, while Henley town centre has two night clubs which stay open after midnight. Some public houses also remain open, and are managed by security.

Supt Doak also advised people visiting and living in Henley over the regatta period to be prepared for traffic and some congestion. 

He explained: “As always, we ask drivers to be patient and mindful of the increased traffic and pedestrians, to leave plenty of time for their journeys, and to carefully follow the appropriate signs to the allocated car park.

“Anyone who parks their vehicle illegally in the area could face a penalty notice and their vehicle could be removed.”

There are no road closures for the event but there is a one way system that operates from 8am until midnight around Remenham.  This system changes direction at 4pm, and it feeds into the official car parks.

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