• Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner received complaints from residents following the 2022 Cheltenham Festival
  • The PCC will be meeting the Jockey Club to discuss how to tackle anti-social behaviour from some racegoers.

The annual National Hunt Festival in Cheltenham is one of the highlights of the calendar. Yet, to the dismay of local residents, it also spurs on some unacceptable anti-social behaviour.

Urinating in gardens, defecating in public parks and verbally abusing local residents are just some of the ‘considerable number’ of complaints received by Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, following this year’s event.

The Festival is a great draw for tourism in Gloucestershire and enjoyed a record number of attendees this year. However, Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson wants to work with the racecourse to make sure that residents, the police and councils can avoid having to literally clean up the mess left behind after the Festival.

Tackling anti-social behaviour is one of the key priorities of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Prevention Plan. So, in his role as the public voice for victims, Mr Nelson will be meeting representatives from the Jockey Club to discuss ways to prevent such incidents re-occurring in 2023.

Mr Nelson said: “I appreciate the difficulty in managing people once they have left the racecourse, particularly when the Festival has such high attendance, but it is also crucial to maintain the goodwill of local residents, and for the racecourse to be a good neighbour.

“I have a duty to represent the views of residents to try and tackle this sort of anti-social behaviour, and many residents feel they have little say in how the Festival is run, but this is not about pointing fingers. I’m looking forward to sitting down with representatives of the Course, alongside other partners and working together so that everyone can enjoy a more positive experience in 2023.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner hopes the meeting will include representatives from Gloucestershire Constabulary, Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham Borough Council and other partners, and can provide collaborative solutions to the issues brought to Mr Nelson’s attention. The meeting will take place after the formal operational de-brief which happens every year.

The Commissioner added: “Policing the Festival is a huge task, and one that Gloucestershire Constabulary manage without any support from other Police Forces. That’s absolutely to their credit, but it’s my job to make sure that by working in partnership, we’re also able to reduce the demand on the Police and make the event as safe as possible, for residents and racegoers alike.”

Please get in touch with the Commissioner if you have comments to make about how the Festival is run: pcc@gloucestershire-pcc.gov.uk