More security after racecourse brawl

Haydock Park Racecourse has decided to beef up security just weeks after a trackside mass brawl hit the headlines.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 8:33 am
Updated Thursday, 28th March 2019, 9:13 am
Officials at Haydock Park racecourse have agreed to beef up security after a mass brawl at a recent meeting

St Helens Council emails seen by this newspaper show all Saturday meetings and music nights will have a police presence and drugs dogs will be sniffing out illegal substances at all these events.

There will also be more door supervisors and more security personnel on duty at the race track to prevent anti-social behaviour and deal with any outbreaks, while a senior member of security staff will be in the racecourse control room working alongside the CCTV operators.

Senior Haydock Park Racecourse bosses told the council the overall policies to keep the venue safe and secure have not changed but more employees will be deployed to achieve that.

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The level of specialist police and anti-drugs units deployed will vary depending on how many people are expected to turn up and predictive crowd profiling.

This comes soon after the racecourse made unwanted national news with a mass brawl involving dozens of men in front of the main stand.

St Helens Council, though, said it was confident the tightening security measures would prevent repeats of such unsavoury scenes.

A local authority spokesperson said: “As the licensing authority, we are working closely with Haydock Park Racecourse and are satisfied that the management are taking every step necessary to ensuring safety and security on the premises.”

Following the serious outbreak of disorder, a man was arrested on suspicion of affray and possession of a controlled drug. He has now been released under investigation.

St Helens Council revealed in the email sent last week that racecourse operations manager Dean Martin had brought in the changes following an ongoing security review.

“It is also understood course bosses are willing to meet St Helens Council again to discuss any security issues.

Also being kept informed is Ashton resident Michael Moulding who last year met with St Helens Council and representatives from the course over his concerns about persistent anti-social behaviour by boozed-up Haydock Park visitors spilling into local towns on race days.

Mr Moulding said the new measures in the wake of the brawl were proof that previous arrangements at the track were inadequate.

He said: “The measures are required because having drugged-up and drunk individuals accessing communities surrounding the venue has detrimental impacts for local residents and their communities.

“It is imperative the majority of their decent racegoers and local residents are adequately safeguarded.

“This incident proved beyond any doubt that management failings existed at this venue.”