Boat Race security tightens

first_imgSecurity measures at the upcoming Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race will be changed to avoid a repeat of last year’s incident, in which a protester jumped in the Thames.Trenton Oldfield was sentenced to 6 months in jail following the stunt, which brought the race to a standstill and saw him narrowly avoid being struck by the oars of both teams. Released in December on the condition of wearing an electric tag, Oldfield has stood by his actions, and even claimed to be considering further action this year.As a result, race organisers have decided to use new initiatives, and have confirmed that professional security companies will be involved.Speaking to The Independent, David Searle, executive director of the Boat Race Company Limited, said, “We’ve obviously been looking very hard at security and we are making some changes. It is very, very difficult to police eight and a half miles of bank. We are taking additional measures this year and we have looked at all of our actions last year. We’ve reviewed them and thought about how we would react slightly differently, not much differently, if it happened this year. All I can and will say is that any who does it is taking their lives in their hands… we just say to people: Just don’t consider it.”Organisers have made a point of emphasising the risk posed by such action – not only to perpetrators, but also to participants of the race (who could face hypothermia), emergency services, and the following flotilla. They have also encouraged the public and spectators to report anything suspicious on the day.Jim Ormiston, President of Balliol Boat Club, said, “I think [race prganisers] should do all they can. However, I certainly don’t think they were too lax last year; nothing like that had ever happened before. I really hope that nobody does try to repeat the farce of last year.”“It was horrendous to watch [someone] rob so many people, who have essentially given up a year of their lives for that race.”The 159th Annual Boat Race will take place on 31st March at 4:30pm. The race is one of the oldest sporting events in the world.last_img