Royal Ascot racegoers to face breathalysers and sniffer dogs

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  • Racegoers at this year’s Royal Ascot (19-23 June) will be met at the turnstiles by breathalysers and sniffer dogs as part of an unprecedented crackdown on unruly behaviour.

    The course says that customers “showing overt signs of inebriation” will be subjected to breath-tests and will be refused entry if they are found to be drunk.

    More than 20 specially-trained sniffer dogs — successfully trialled at Ascot in May — will be used to target drug users, and will patrol public bars, toilet queues and car parks.

    The prestigious Berkshire venue will also be installing “drug amnesty” boxes outside the gates for racegoers to deposit illegal substances before entry.

    The use of mobile alcohol sellers or “beer hawkers” has also been discontinued, as the racecourse tightens up its image in response to recent outbreaks of drunken violence.

    They have also installed a “highly visible” 100-strong security team who will work alongside specially trained “incident spotters”.

    The crackdown follows a mass brawl at the racecourse’s May meeting, which left two people requiring medical treatment for head injuries.

    The incident took place just seven days after a 50-strong punch up at Goodwood where six men were hurt.

    “Every year as part of our preparations for Royal Ascot we review our security measures alongside our expert partners. We want all guests to feel comforted and reassured and we believe that the combination of armed police, patrol dogs and high-level security will provide this,” said Guy Henderson, Ascot Racecourse’s chief executive officer.

    “The use of illegal drugs and their contribution to anti-social behaviour is a significant issue for all major events,” he added. “This year we will continue proactively to address these challenges with an increased specialist security team, supported by more visible stewarding around bars and other areas in order to pre-empt incidents arising from excess alcohol consumption or other anti-social behaviour.

    “As has always been our policy anyone found entering or on the site with illegal drugs will be refused entry or expelled.”

    Continued below…

    First run in 1711 when it was founded by Queen Anne, the event has become a landmark date in the calendar for both racing, British culture and fashion.

    More than 300,000 people are expected to attend this year’s five-day meeting, with the feature race, the £500,000 Gold Cup, taking place on ladies’ day on Thursday.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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