Skip to main content

Planning and policing pays off with successful half term

News   •   Jun 02, 2019 19:38 BST

A week of unprecedented demand on Surrey and Sussex Police forces has passed successfully, despite a number of large and high profile events across the two counties.

The forces had support from across the country and further afield as officer's leave and days off were cancelled to ensure normal service wasn’t impacted by the week’s events.

The first event was on Bank Holiday Monday with attendance at the Surrey County Show in Guildford where policing teams showcased their skills to thousands of attendees.

On Friday and Saturday, the Investec Derby festival at Epsom Downs Racecourse was attended by Her Majesty the Queen and more than 36,000 racegoers. Despite the number of attendees, only seven arrests were made over the two days. Police dogs, search units, public order officers, drones and firearms officers were at the event to keep the public safe.

In Brighton, a sunny Saturday attracted thousands of extra day trippers on top of the usual weekend visitors. The day passed without serious incident or major disruption despite the addition of an estimated 30,000 people attending the Kemptown Carnival and 24,000 fans at the Amex Stadium for the Lionesses last game before the Women's Football World Cup. 

We also had the 'ride out' element of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) Euro Run 2019 in which a convoy of HAMC members rode down the A23 from Pease Pottage to Brighton and back. The 'ride out' was the culmination of a three day festival-style event which was being held at a private venue on the East Surrey/West Sussex border to mark 50 years of the HAMC  in the UK. Overall it attracted around 3,000 HA members from all over the world.

And finally there were two all-English European Cup football finals during the week, bringing fans out to pubs and clubs without any notable incidents.

Assistant Chief Constable Nev Kemp said:

“This has been a hugely busy week for both forces and I’m incredibly proud of the efforts I’ve seen from all involved. Many months of planning and hard work have gone into making all of these events run as smoothly as possible.

“Public safety has been our main priority and we put in place highly visible tactics this week which has significantly reduced the risk to the wider public and those wanting to enjoy themselves at all these events.”

From Wednesday (May 29) an order under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 was introduced, allowing stop and search of individuals within a designated area of Surrey and Sussex. It followed information that some attendees to the HAMC event were likely to be carrying offensive weapons. In total 49 people were arrested in connection with the event with a number having been sentenced at court.already.

ACC Kemp added:

“We made great efforts to work with the event organiser beforehand to ensure those attending, particularly from abroad, had got the message about what was expected here under UK law, sadly some didn’t heed the warning and this resulted in arrests being made. Our approach, as well as some self-testing for breath alcohol by riders ahead of the main ride out on Saturday, significantly reduced numbers coming to Brighton. We had initially been advised to expect 700, but just over 100 took part.

“An event like this has never been held in the UK on this scale before and it required careful planning to ensure the public and those attending were all kept safe so following information we received as the week went on, I decided to put the Section 60 order in place .”

The policing operation for the event involved partners from across law enforcement agencies both in the UK and abroad.

ACC Kemp continued:

“We greatly benefited from the knowledge shared by our international colleagues about some of the attendees from their countries and the risks that they posed. We were able to prevent 27 people from even entering the UK. All of those refused entry were international members of the Hell Angels and deemed to pose a risk to the wider public with previous convictions for serious crimes including; murder, kidnap, torture, drug supply, violent assaults and firearms offences. Hells Angels events of this nature have not routinely passed without serious incidents when they have taken place in other countries. A measure of success for us has been to ensure that it passed without serious incident here in the UK and our colleagues at Europol have been very complimentary about the UK policing operation.

"The fact that all the different events this week, which have drawn hundreds of thousands of people to both counties, have passed safely and without serious incident is something we can be very pleased with. It  has required significant planning, resourcing, and professionalism from officers and staff because of the varied risks involved and I would like to thank everyone for the hard work they have put in to achieve this."