When you think of the races, the vast majority of people think about the champaign gardens, ladies in stunning dresses and gents in top hats and tails. The sun beating on immaculate lawns, sponsored by the Moet and Bentley. The playground of Lords and Ladies, that is broadcast around the world.
To be honest, there is a percentage of race goers that can afford this life style. The greater majority, are just average people that are looking for a good days entertainment and with any luck a win or two to line their pockets.
At the other end, we also have a small percentage of those that just do not know how to enjoy a day out without violence or consuming vast amounts of alcohol. Do not believe that this is a new trend though, a problem of modern society. This has always been there, but mobile technology now allows all these problems to be shared worldwide in seconds. Unfortunately, there is a want to see the worst in us all and these videos and stories and now shared and start trending; picked up by the tabloid press and in some cases news outlets.
A race meeting is possibly the largest public gathering most people will attend out with music festivals and football or rugby matches. Unlike those events though, there are limited controls put in place to monitor those attending. You can get arrested for attempting to enter a football stadium drunk and in Scotland you cannot buy alcohol at a match, but race meetings there is very little chance of this happening.
Racecourses have limited days of operation and most are seasonal. They rely on broadcast, sponsors, hospitality and bar sales to see them through the year. We will let you make up your own mind about the sale of alcohol to customers and its rights and wrongs. But, you will not see many long queues at a race course to get a drink; you may to buy a hamburger or coffee, a small army of hospitality/bar staff are shipped in for race day. Can the same be said safety and security?
Your average racecourse is a big place. The circulation space provided allows customers to spread out and move around; mostly, at ease. There are internal spaces, temporary covered spaces, hospitality areas, back of house areas, car parks and the course. You will see safety and security staff dotted about, but not as many as you see at other sporting events; well maybe, but they are spread out further.
The end of an evening at a large race meeting can resemble any busy high street on a Friday or Saturday night. You would think the nightclubs and pubs are emptying. If the catering units where to swap pulled pork brioche buns for kebabs and chips and cheese by the end of the meeting, they would make a killing (disclaimer – we are fully aware that this is stereotyping, but you have to have some form of sense of humour in this life).
Security at large race meeting resemble door staff on a nightclub, more than the blazered customer service style that most think of at high end events. Security is also limited. The majority of staff on a race course are in fixed positions. Safety staff are looking after exits and course positions and the greater majority of security are in fixed positions conducting accreditation checks and a racecourse has a lot of those positions. After that you will have security looking after the bars; although possibly only one per bar or bar area and where available (generally if there are enough funds) a roaming patrol or two.
Where you have an environment of higher alcohol consumption, the mixed emotions of gambling; the thrill of the win or depression of the lose, this can alter the behaviour of those attending. This is multiplied by the attendance of groups; large parties attending as one. Where one member of the group may cause a problem, this is amplified by others in the group getting involved; hopefully attempting to deescalate the situation, but on occasion basically adding fuel to the fire.
We also feel that this is not just a problem unique to the United Kingdom, this can be seen in other countries as well.
We see this happening more and more at race meetings and it is a problem that needs addressed. If it is not suitable behaviour for other sporting events, then why is is tolerated at a race meeting. After a few higher profile racecourses now finding themselves subject to this anti social behaviour, we wonder how long it will be before changes are implemented; if at all.
Workingwithcrowds.com 15th May 2018
NOTE:- This footage is extremely graphic and may cause distress