Police seek witnesses to 50-man brawl at Goodwood on Saturday

Glorious setting: Goodwood hosts it final meeting of the year on Sunday
Police want to hear from witnesses to Saturday's violent scenesCredit: Alan Crowhurst

The BHA has indicated it will pay increased attention to crowd control and security in the future licensing of racecourses as the fallout from Saturday's appalling scenes at Goodwood continued, with police calling for witnesses in their efforts to bring violent hooligans to justice.

The Sussex constabulary is seeking the help of anyone who saw one of the worst examples to date of public disorder on a British racecourse.

In the region of 50 people are now thought to have been involved in "multiple altercations", during which a man on the ground was kicked in the head.

Goodwood general manager Alex Eade has defended the course's security activity on Saturday, claiming a number of those on duty were wearing suits and therefore not obvious to customers.

However, he said future arrangements would be reviewed, and admitted: "It's really bad for our sport, it's particularly bad for Goodwood. No-one is more shocked than me because this sort of thing doesn't happen at Goodwood."

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Goodwood in all its gloryCredit: Edward Whitaker
Responding to the shocking scenes, which have been reported across the media and given extra coverage due to video footage that shows the brawl at its ugliest point, BHA head of media Robin Mounsey said: "The behaviour of crowds at racecourses is an important issue.

"While the vast majority of our six million racegoers each year will enjoy a pleasant and enjoyable experience, incidents such as those at the weekend cast the sport in a poor light and will cause understandable concern to those who are considering a day at the races.

"The BHA will be writing to Goodwood to ask for their assessment of the events that occurred, and what steps they will take as a result. We'll also be writing to the RCA for their views on issues regarding racegoer behaviour more generally."

Mounsey added: "Crowd control, security and alcohol policies are currently the responsibility of the racecourse and their representative body, the Racecourse Association.

"However, the BHA has a duty to take into account all relevant facts and matters when issuing licences.

"We have already stated we will be carrying out a review of all our licensing procedures later this year, which includes participant and racecourse licences. It is our intention to ensure crowd control and behaviour are considered as part of this review."

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Robin Mounsey: crowd control, security and alcohol policies are currently the responsibility of the racecourse and their representative body, the Racecourse Association

RCA chief executive Stephen Atkin said: "The incident clearly has absolutely no place in society, let alone on a racecourse. Thankfully, of the 70,000-plus people who went racing over the bank holiday weekend only a small handful were involved in any trouble, and events like this remain extremely rare in our sport.

"That is not to say we are complacent and the Racecourse Association works closely with all racecourses to promote our bespoke responsible drinking campaign – Pace Yourself - which has been in operation for four years through our partnership with Drinkaware.

"Earlier this year we launched ‘Pace Yourself Plus’, which includes a rounded training programme that will help equip staff on the ground to counter alcohol-related harms and support customers who may be vulnerable as a result of excessive drinking.

"It also includes an e-learning programme for raceday staff to learn the basics of responsible alcohol service in a racecourse environment and a new suite of supporting promotional collateral."

Amid fears the use of drugs on racecourses is increasing, Atkin added: "We have also introduced measures to counter recreational drug use this year. We work closely in this area with the authorities through the Horseracing Police Practitioners Forum to devise deterrence measures, and racecourses use sniffer dogs and amnesty bins where appropriate."

Sussex Police issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon
Sussex Police issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon

Tuesday's statement from Sussex Police read: "Police are appealing for witnesses following an altercation at Goodwood racecourse.

"Officers were called to the racecourse in Chichester at 4.47pm on Saturday after reports of multiple altercations at the premises.

"It is believed there were around 50 people involved, four people were taken to hospital with serious injuries and several others suffered minor injuries. The four who were taken to hospital have since been discharged. The investigation is ongoing."

The statement continued: "Anyone who witnessed the altercation is asked to report information online or by calling 101 quoting 880 of 05/05. Alternatively, you can visit the Crimestoppers website or contact the independent charity anonymously on 0800 555 111."

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Lee MottersheadSenior writer

Published on 8 May 2018inNews

Last updated 19:48, 8 May 2018