Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Video: Regatta 2013 hailed a success

THIS year?s Henley Royal Regatta was one of the most peaceful on record despite huge crowds descending on the town.

THIS year?s Henley Royal Regatta was one of the most peaceful on record despite huge crowds descending on the town.

An estimated 200,000 people attended the five-day event, which was accompanied by sunshine and temperatures of up to 29C while on the water several records were broken.

Click here to watch our video roundup of Henley Royal Regatta 2013

There were 26 arrests, only three more than last year when the attendance was much lower due to poor weather and lack of Olympic rowers taking part in the racing.

All but five of the arrests were made on Saturday night when the town was at its busiest and up to 80 Thames Valley Police officers were on duty.

Inspector Mark Harling, head of Henley police, said: ?It was an incredibly busy regatta and the attendance was much higher than last year but the officers and horses coped well. There were more people visiting yet crime stayed about the same level as last year and that?s pretty good.?

Police handed out more than 100 Section 27 orders, which enable officers to move people out of a specific area for 48 hours if they believe their continued presence may lead to trouble.

Designated public place orders, which give officers power to confiscate alcohol being drunk in the street, were used ?extensively? on Saturday.

Insp Harling said: ?Some people?s behaviour wasn?t very good and we needed to stop it. Unfortunately, people drink too much and do things they wouldn?t ordinarily do.

?There are also some people who come to Henley first thing in the morning and drink all day and until the early hours. Unfortunately, we?ve got to pick up the pieces.?

A total of 24 offences were reported on the Oxfordshire side of the river, most of which related to incidents of criminal damage, drunkenness and theft.

There were two arrests on Wednesday, including one of an 18-year-old man suspected of being drunk and disorderly. On Thursday, a 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault following an incident at the Mahiki Bar, where a 22-year-old man suffered a black eye and cuts to his face.

On the same day, £90 on-the-spot fines were handed out to two men caught urinating in the street.

Chief Inspector Rory Freedman, who led the police operation, said the proactive efforts of his officers working with the regatta organisers, licensees and British Transport Police helped deter potential troublemakers.

?Although one of the busiest years ever, it was a successful operation from a policing perspective,? he said.

?Early indications are that the overall level of crime dropped this year compared with last and there were fewer serious incidents, such as assaults.?

Police used Twitter to provide the public with regular updates about their operation and the regatta in general.

The Angel on the Bridge pub ejected two people on Saturday but landlord Mark Dunlop said everyone was well-behaved otherwise.

He said: ?It was a great regatta thanks to the weather. I think a lot of people stayed out on the river a lot later so we had a rush at 9.30pm on Saturday.

There were happy people and we had a good atmosphere.

?We were well-organised with security and there was great policing around the town. Usually, Saturday can get a bit naughty once dusk falls but it was very good this year.?

Neil Ainsworth, who runs the Argyll in Market Place, said: ?All the visitors were really nice people and there were no issues whatsoever.

?The police were very proactive in making sure that people were able to have a positive regatta experience and we feel the Argyll contributed to that.?

Nigel Rainbow, landlord of the Three Horseshoes pub in Reading Road and chairman of Henley Pubwatch, said landlords received no calls warning them about potential troublemakers.

He said: ?As far as I?m aware, it was quiet on the trouble front and there was good trade.?

Vivienne Connery, who runs the Chocolate Theatre Cafe in Thames Side, said: ?The vibe around town was just amazing with the community spirit and the rowers coming into Henley. The women?s regatta a few weeks ago started it all off.?

Visitors enjoyed some of the first cream teas to be served on Red Lion Lawn since it was refurbished and re-opened last month.

Sam Gill, co-owner of the Red Lion Hotel, said: ?It was quite popular with our in-house guests and a few passers-by ? it was a fantastic spot for people to go.?

Mike Sweeney, chairman of the regatta, said it was one of the best regattas he could remember and it was boosted by the increasing interest in rowing following the success of British crews at the London Olympics last summer.

He said: ?It was sort of surprising after the winter and spring we had. Even in the week before there was no suggestion of what was coming.

?The weather was fantastic and crowds were huge all the way down the riverbank.

I was particularly pleased with Saturday evening in that it seemed pretty quiet late at night. Our security had virtually nothing to report on Sunday morning.? Devinia Hudson, head of events at the Copas Partnership, which owns land along the regatta course, said it had been a ?great year?.

She said the Barn Bar was packed on Saturday with people watching the British and Irish Lions test match against Australia and again on Sunday for Andy Murray?s victory in the Wimbledon men?s final.

Ms Hudson said: ?The atmosphere all week was fantastic with everyone enjoying the sunshine.?

South Central Ambulance Service said there was no noticeable increase in incidents during the regatta.

First Great Western said it carried more than 60,000 passengers to and from Henley for the regatta, a 13 per cent increase on last year.

* Travellers who pitched up in Henley on the eve of the royal regatta have left the area. The families parked their four caravans and three vans beside Fair Mile but were moved on by police and then set up camp on Nettlebed common. They left Nettlebed 24 hours later and stopped in Playhatch, where they were again moved on by police.

* A handbag was stolen from the Angel on the Bridge pub in Henley on Saturday evening. The owner had put the bag down on a bench in the outdoor seating area to speak to a friend when it was taken.

More News:

POLL: Have your say