Road closure for illegal pony driving event ‘wholly unacceptable’ says police chief

  • The closure of a major road as a result of an illegal “pony and trap event” is unacceptable, Hampshire’s new police and crime commissioner (PCC) has stated.

    Donna Jones, who was elected to the post this spring, undertook an urgent review of Hampshire Constabulary’s response to the incident at the start of May, as another such event is planned this month.

    The May event resulted in the road’s being closed, “outraging local residents and people trying to travel in the surrounding areas”.

    The PCC has sought assurances from Hampshire’s chief constable that the force’s plans will prevent such disruption at the next event.

    “The closure of the A33 as a result of an illegal traveller community pony and trap event was wholly unacceptable,” she said.

    “As the police and crime commissioner, and on behalf of local communities, I take this very seriously and will not tolerate this happening again.

    “It is my responsibility to represent the views of the public on policing and I have heard significant concern from the public that the road was closed, as well as concerns for their own safety. I have discussed this with the chief constable and the senior officers in charge of policing the next planned event and have been assured significant planning is being undertaken and appropriate action will be taken by the police. I will also be attending the beat surgeries to hear the concerns directly from the residents.”

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    Hampshire chief superintendent Paul Bartolomeo said the force aims to prevent illegal activity on public roads by working with partners and “all members of the community”.

    “Hampshire Constabulary has listened and will continue to listen to the public affected by this type of incident,” he said.

    “Where such activity does occur, our first priority will be to protect life and keep people safe. At the same time, we will seek to bring individuals to justice where criminal activity occurs.”

    MP Steve Brine MP added: “I have been inundated with complaints about this illegal racing and it will not be tolerated.

    “We expect very robust action from the police and are hugely grateful to our new PCC for getting right in the middle of this so early on in her term.”

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