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Racecourse security examined after violent brawls

An industry boss has said more uniformed officers could be deployed.

More uniformed security officers could be deployed at racecourses to help tackle outbreaks of violence, an industry boss has said.

Racecourse Association (RCA) chief executive Stephen Atkin said tracks would need to assess security measures after a brawl erupted at Ascot on Saturday.

Footage shared widely on social media captured suited racegoers trading blows, while more than 50 people were involved in a brawl at Goodwood the previous weekend.

Craig Newman, who witnessed the violence erupt at Ascot, said: “You could feel something was going to happen and all of a sudden, as I was walking past the bar, I heard some shouting from behind me.

“I turned and almost immediately two guys started throwing punches at each other and before I knew it at least 20 others came piling in and everyone was throwing punches.

“They then moved behind the bar that I was by and that’s when I started filming. At first I couldn’t believe my eyes but then eventually got the phone out to record it.”

Mr Atkin said racecourses would have to employ the “right level of security staff”.

“The question you have to consider is how many of those should be in high visibility and how many in plain clothes. That is something racecourses may want to look at and step up the level of visibility,” he told BBC 5 live.

“There is very considerable training which the RCA helps run of racecourse staff about serving alcohol in bars and making drinking water freely available and advising people how to pace themselves,” he continued.

“With the issue of drugs, there are regular checks on areas that may be prone to drug misuse.

“The RCA and our racecourse experience group are in regular touch with the police officers’ association about how we can best tackle that.”

There are always things to learn after a raceday and we will be reviewing everything and putting appropriate measures in place for Royal Ascot next month Ashley Morton-Hunte, Ascot corporate and racing communications manager

The British Horseracing Association (BHA) has reminded racecourses of their responsibility around alcohol policies and warned troublemakers they could be banned.

“We announced after the violence at Goodwood that we would add the issue of security to our areas to examine in our licensing review later this year,” it said in a statement.

“Whilst the incident at Ascot was quickly contained and smaller in scale, it shows the issues that courses face even with good planning and security precautions.

“We have been in contact with the RCA this weekend and we know that courses will take into account the incidents as they make their security plans ahead of each meeting.

“The BHA does have the power to exclude individuals from courses and will use it where it can.”

Responding to events at Ascot, the Berkshire track’s corporate and racing communications manager, Ashley Morton-Hunte, said: “Our aim, always, is to have a safe, secure and enjoyable raceday.

“Following recent incidents, we increased the number of response teams on site on Saturday and the incident was dealt with quickly.

“Sadly, an irresponsible minority can impact on the majority. We take all anti-social behaviour seriously, and can and did eject people.

“There are always things to learn after a raceday and we will be reviewing everything and putting appropriate measures in place for Royal Ascot next month.”

York racecourse said it believes it has measures in place for this week’s Dante meeting to prevent similar scenes.

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