Shirley Eden is a police officer for Avon and Somerset Police. Shirley is also a keen equestrian who was previously in the mounted police but now predominantly rides in her spare time. Every year Shirley is involved in one of the nicer aspects of policing which is being involved at Badminton Horse Trials.
Shirley has been involved in policing at Badminton for a while. ‘ there used to be loads of police presence at Badminton but the policing at the event is now paid for by Badminton.’
Shirley meets with director Hugh Thomas after the event where they have a wash up meeting to talk through how everything went and discuss any issues that arose. These are taken through to the next meeting which is held before the event where they assess the threat risk. This is looking at the risk to the public and what crime may happen at the event. During the meeting they come to an agreement about the levels of policing required.
During the early part of the week the policing levels are low, while on the Saturday with 100,000 people in one space the policing levels are higher. There are, for the police 100,000 people in the area who would not be there otherwise.
Shirley is a bronze commander, thus being responsible for the operational aspect of the event. Shirley is responsible for briefing the other police officers and tasking them for the week. This will involve going round the trade stands, preventing shoplifting, crime reduction advice and looking for vulnerable vehicles which includes dogs in cars. A large part of their work on site is community liaison and public engagement.
There is also a mounted police presence and in the past they would have a good gallop up Worcester Avenue! Being Badminton the mounted section is very well received and they cannot often move more than a few meters without being accosted by enthusiastic public looking to find out more about the horses and get photos.
Over the years the cost of policing has reduced for the event. There are around 6 officers during the week while cross country day will see around 12 officers. This does not include the mounted section or traffic officers on motorcycles.
The crowd at Badminton is clearly a well behaved crowd because if you compare the levels of policing to Glastonbury festival which will see similar amounts of people then there is a very different level of policing due to the more unsavoury aspects found at the festival such as drugs and organised crime. As these are much higher threats to the public.
As Shirley highlighted, the most antisocial thing you might get at Badminton is a few Young Farmers getting drunk. On the whole the crowd at Badminton are very good natured!