Keeping Cheltenham safe and moving during race week

Published on 4th March 2020

The Mayor of Cheltenham, will be inviting guests to join her at Cheltenham racecourse to raise money for charity

Race week takes place from Tuesday 10 to Friday 13 March 2020 and measures are in place so that it runs smoothly.

Working together

Cheltenham Borough Council, Gloucestershire Constabulary, SOLACE, Gloucestershire County Council and other agencies will be working in partnership again this year to keep Cheltenham safe, moving and clean as over 60,000 people per day descend on the town for the Cheltenham Festival.

Smooth traffic flow

To make sure that traffic flows smoothly in and around Cheltenham, the borough council will be working closely with the county council’s highways team. Traffic orders will be in place as previous years and full details about the traffic changes have been published.

Checking taxi activity

Licensing officers will be working with officers from South Gloucestershire Council to inspect licensed vehicles and ensure that any unlawful activity is dealt with.  In 2019, 12 drivers were prosecuted for illegally plying for hire during the festival.

The council will be running a safety campaign to highlight the fact that an illegal taxi is not different from getting into a strangers car.

Louis Krog, licensing team leader, said: “Every year we see unlicensed vehicles and vehicles licensed elsewhere come to Cheltenham to work.  No vehicle other than a Cheltenham licensed taxi can ply for hire.  We want to be clear that officers will be out throughout the week and we will prosecute any driver found to be illegally plying their trade.

“We do this to keep visitors and residents safe.  Unlicensed vehicles are not insured properly and the drivers would not have been checked.  We would urge visitors to use Cheltenham licensed vehicles.”

Licensed venue inspections

Council and police staff will be busy doing all the alcohol venue and lap dancing club inspections to make sure they are adhering to rules and regulations.

Public safety

The council and partners will continue to have a proactive presence during race week to safeguard public and individual safety. This will include a focus on envirocrimes including littering, antisocial behaviour such as street drinking and ticket touting.

Sexual violence awareness

Last year saw the launch of a sexual violence awareness poster campaign led by the council, Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse centre and Crimestoppers, which will return and aims to ensure that everyone is aware that behaviours involving any unwanted sexual contact, harassment like grabbing, groping, rubbing, pinching or upskirting are sexual violence crimes.  If someone experiences this type of behaviour, they should call the police.

Councillor Andrew McKinlay said:  “As always, we want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable time throughout the festival.  Cheltenham welcomes an incredible amount of visitors to the town during race week so it remains a top priority for us to work closely with our partners to make sure everything goes smoothly.

“Sexual violence, travel safety, alcohol consumption, littering, and ticket touting are areas of concern so our officers will be working hard with our partners to raise awareness and where necessary, clamp down on this type of activity.”

Superintendent Paul Dutton said: “I am really looking forward to another festival week, we know that the vast majority of people visiting Cheltenham for the Festival have a great time and enjoy themselves responsibly. We have been working closely with Cheltenham Racecourse and Cheltenham Borough Council to ensure local residents and racegoers are kept safe during festival week.

“Officers will be taking part in a number of patrols around both the racecourse and wider town centre and would encourage anyone with concerns to report this by speaking to a member of the team or calling 101.”

For press enquiries contact:  communications, email or call 01242 264231.

Notes to editors:

Coronavirus – the racecourse is in regular contact with agencies including Public Health England, Gloucestershire County Council, Public Health, NHS, Cheltenham Borough Council and the local resilience forum. The advice to follow is published by PHE and Government. All enquiries about the races should be directed to The Jockey Club

Additional toilets will be in place in the town centre, on Evesham Road and New Barn Lane.