Cops praised for work during maximum terror alert at Doncaster races

Racegoers looking relaxed at this year's St Leger Festival
Racegoers looking relaxed at this year's St Leger Festival

Police bosses have praised their officers' handling of the St Leger - despite it being held during a major terrorism alert.

Officers put in contingency plans for the famous horse race meeting at Town Moor, which this year was held after the Government had raised the terrorism alert to 'critical' - the highest possible level.

But bosses at Doncaster Police Station feel their officers worked hard make sure the public were relaxed despite the visible presence of armed officers at the venue carrying machine guns.

Supt Neil Thomas said: "Leger week went well - lots of people turned up, and there was a good policing operation around it. We put extra resources and plans in place following the recent terrorism attacks in London.

"The alert was at 'critical' at the weekend, but our plans had catered for a large public sports event, with a traffic management plan and plans in place for any suspect packages.

"We do not think it changed the feel of the event, but from our point of view it went well."

Officers were asked to engage with the public, and many pictures of officers with racegoers, and even dancing, were circulated on social media.

"We had gone from 'severe' to 'critical' in terms of the terror alert, and the public can be nervous to see armed officers. We wanted out officers to make the public feel comfortable and that is what they did," said Supt Thomas.

The St Leger was one of a number of areas of Doncaster where armed police were deployed over the same weekend, along with the Frenchgate Centre, the railway station, and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

There was also a rise in the number of arrests on the Saturday evening after the race, won this year by Capri. Most of those were drink related, and the total number was described as in line with the usual figures for St Leger Week, which sees 30,000 people come into the borough for the event.