With the Festival week, over for another year, the council and its partners are celebrating another safe and well managed event with record numbers of visitors to the town.
The total number of attendance for the four-day event was more than 260,000 with record numbers on the Wednesday and Thursday. With the racing event growing each year, there has been a concerted effort by the council, the police and the racecourse to proactively manage the event. This year, the council, police and racecourse worked together to implement several changes and new initiatives to improve the management of the event.
This meant proactively targeting ticket touts, cracking down on drunkenness, illegal taxi drivers and regulating the distribution of free marketing material. During the ticket tout’s operation, officers from the council and police worked together to target ticket touts that were not properly licensed to sell the tickets.
Officers engaged positively with the touts – some of whom got a pedlar’s certificate because of the crackdown – but did seize tickets from those who were not properly licensed. There was also a more proactive stance on drunkenness and anti-social behaviour lead by the racecourse’s limiting of drinks to punters and supplemented by a wider partnership
“What are the odds of getting served”
campaign. Therefore, and contributing factor, there were only six arrests for drunk and disorderly behaviour during the week.
Finally, council officers, with support from licensing enforcement officers from Gloucester City and Tewkesbury Borough Councils, targeted unlicensed taxi drivers who came to Cheltenham to illegally ply their trade. A total of 15 individual drivers were reported for the offence which is the highest number of any race meeting in Cheltenham to date. Councillor Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety, said: “We are pleased that we have managed to again deliver, with partners, a safe and well managed event in 2017. There was a very low number of arrests and incidents of crime and disorder in light of the exceptionally high numbers of revellers in the town. “The four-day event does however continue to place substantial demands on the council and its partners. We continuously review how we approach the management of the event to keep it as safe and well managed as we can for the town, its visitors and residents.”
Insp. Roddy Gosden, Cheltenham town Inspector added: “While we are prepared for all eventualities there were very few issues at the racecourse or in the town centre during this year’s festival. “The vast majority of people came to enjoy the event but behaved very responsibly at the same time and that is reflected in the low arrest and crime numbers.” Ian Renton, regional director of Cheltenham Racecourse commented: “I am delighted that the hard work we have undertaken with the local council and police in the build up to this year’s Festival has paid off and that the new initiatives undertaken proved to work effectively. We look forward to continuing to work on key areas ahead of next year’s event.”