A STRONG police presence is being lined up for the annual Rugby Sevens tournament in Pocklington next week.
More than 18 police officers are being drafted in to patrol the streets for the traditional Good Friday event, which as always, is expected to bring thousands of people into the town.
Now in its 53rd year, “Pock Sevens” will be played at Pocklington Rugby Club on Percy Lane. It is the oldest tournament of its kind in Yorkshire and continues to be a major event on the rugby calendar.
But while it is always regarded by police as a well-marshalled event, revellers traditionally pack out the pubs and bars in the town centre afterwards which can often lead to drink-fuelled anti-social behaviour.
Sergeant Pete Rogers of Pocklington Police is determined to ensure the day goes off without a hitch.
He said: “It’s the same arrangement we had last year and the previous years. Last year we had two or three arrests during the latter part of the day. Our job is to deal with public order after the rugby event has finished.
“The evening always attracts people from all over but the public order element always seems to involve local people.
“We have been working with the organisers to ensure it’s an enjoyable day for all concerned.
“There will be officers working through the day, with the police response building up from mid-morning. More officers will be on duty from midday up until the early hours.”
Sgt Rogers say that ten special constables will be in along with eight regular officers, some of which have been drafted in from Goole and Howden, to accompany the town’s regular patrols officers.
The police are promising to enforce a strict code for the town centre no-drinking zones and anyone caught selling to underage drinkers will be dealt with. A mobile CCTV van has been booked for the day to record troublesome areas if required.
The police have also spoken with the licensees of the town’s pubs and Sgt Rogers has been pleased with the planning.
“We are very grateful with the response they give us, officers will be routinely checking the pubs and will be very visible in the town centre,” he said.
“We want people to enjoy the event, it’s a good unique event for the town but we want people to be safe without drunken people causing problems or assaulting people.
“As far as we are concerned, while we want people to have a good time there is always that potential for problems from a minority- they can expect to be dealt with a zero tolerance approach.”
Police say they will arrest people when necessary, issue £80 fixed penalty notices or even proceed with court action.