My View, Sgt Steve Butler - Policing 60,000 race-goers

Police on duty on St Leger Day on Hallgate, Doncaster
Police on duty on St Leger Day on Hallgate, Doncaster

The policing of the St Leger Festival 2014 was a 10 day operation.

It started with the Doncaster Live music event in the Market Place, and numerous other events including Roman soldiers marching through the town centre and an opera performance in Regent Square.

It was an operation involving many police officers, police community support officers and support staff from both the police and local authority.

The planning for the event started when the 2013 festival ended.

And the police officers who we saw over the festival were a result of many partnership meetings throughout the year.

The festival this year attracted up to 60,000 extra visitors.

And experts say it brought an estimated £15 million of additional revenue into the town over the 10-day period.

Anti-social behaviour has been one of the main complaints received by South Yorkshire Police. In particular, we have had reports of people urinating in front gardens along Bennetthorpe and the surrounding streets, something which causes great distress to residents.

In response, additional resources patrolled the area this year.

And while it is accepted the police alone can’t totally stop anti-social behaviour of this type, we are aware of it and tackling it accordingly to achieve a reduction.

This year I was working with the licensing enforcement officer, to carry out a range of duties surrounding the liquor licences within the Doncaster town centre area.

Close partnership working throughout the year through the Pubwatch scheme - a voluntary organisation supported by 60 pubs and clubs who work together to identify and ban known trouble causers from the town centre, and where all current issues and trends are discussed - ensures that licensees work closely with the police to prevent offences taking place and ensuring the licensing objectives of the Licensing Act are met.

Each evening a street briefing was held between the police and licensees to discuss any incidents that occurred during the day’s racing and to monitor the crowd dynamics.

Licensing premise visits were then made to ensure all pubs and clubs were complying with the conditions attached to their individual liquor licences.

This included the provision of Security Industry Authority licensed door staff.

It was pleasing to note no offences were discovered.

The Doncaster Racecourse itself works closely with South Yorkshire Police and all key partners to ensure the event was safe and successful for all involved.

And planning is already underway for the 2015 festival!

* Sgt Steve Butler, Prevent and community engagement officer, Doncaster police