POLICE have warned that they will be tough on crime at this year?s Henley Royal Regatta
POLICE have warned that they will be tough on crime at this year?s Henley Royal Regatta.
Up to 80 officers will be on duty by the river and in the town centre during the event, which begins next Wednesday and is expected to attract about 200,000 people over five days.
Police will confiscate alcohol from people found drinking in the street and once again use section 35 powers to remove people from an area for 48 hours if they are causing a nuisance.
Last year, 15 arrests were made in the town during the regatta, compared with 26 in 2013 and 25 in 2012.
Insp Mick Greenwood, who will be in charge of the Thames Valley Police operation, urged visitors to behave and drink responsibly and said officers could confiscate people with large amounts of alcohol.
He said: ?People will be banned from the area, will have their alcohol confiscated and will be arrested if that is appropriate. We will never be soft on crime. There is potential for anti-social behaviour and drunkenness as people come at 9am and drink right through.
?We do not want people to bring vast amounts of alcohol with them ? if they do we can confiscate it.
?If people commit crime we will deal with it and use the powers we have. We will try to stop anything as early as possible to prevent any further problems.
?The regatta is a world class rowing event but it?s almost split into two parts with the rowing and then the after-party.
?Visitors are here to enjoy the rowing and then what is on offer afterwards.?
He reminded visitors that the Bull in Bell Street and Magoos and the Catherine Wheel in Hart Street were the only pubs with licences allowing them to serve alcohol after midnight.
?People come into Henley town centre because all bars and clubs on the Berkshire side of the rivershut at midnight but if you go over the bridge at midnight you?re probably not going to get into one of those pubs as they?re going to be full.?
Insp Greenwood, who was involved in organising the policing at Eton Dorney for the Olympics in 2012, said: ?The Henley regatta is one of many major events that we do.
?It has its own challenges, such as the river, but we also deal with big public events like Ascot races last week or the Reading Festival in August. Even busy weekends in cities and large towns like Oxford and Reading provide good experience.?
He said the number of officers on duty in Henley during the regatta would vary over the five days with up to 80 officers on the Friday and Saturday evenings when the town would be at its busiest. In the run-up to the event the police have been liaising with councils on both sides of the river, licensees and transport agencies.
Insp Greenwood said: ?I last worked a regatta about 15 years ago and a lot more planning goes into it now than it did then. We work with all the parties involved to help the event run as smoothly as possible.
?The bottom line is we want people to have a good time and want to facilitate that while keeping them safe.?
• Police will be able to close Henley Bridge and Thames Side to vehicles if the crowds become too big during the regatta. A traffic order will be in place from 9am to 11pm on the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday and from 9am to midnight next Saturday. Vehicles will be unable to turn left into Thames Side from Henley Bridge for the entire duration of the event or wait in Deanfield Avenue, Paradise Road or Fair Mile. Loading or unloading will be prohibited in Greys Road and there will be no waiting allowed in Thames Side between 9am and 9pm.