'Beer and cider are not hydration' warns Northants Police superintendent ahead of British GP and England's World Cup clash

With Silverstone gearing up for the biggest UK sporting event of the year, as is often the case every four years, the World Cup looms large over most things.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 6th July 2018, 5:43 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:40 pm
Superintendent Chris Hillery pictured in Northamptonshire Police's unique mobile command unit
Superintendent Chris Hillery pictured in Northamptonshire Police's unique mobile command unit

And Silverstone is no different. England's quarter-final match with Sweden - who have a representative on the British Grand Prix grid in the form of Marcus Ericsson - will be broadcast on big screens at the circuit tomorrow.

As racegoers prepare for temperatures in the high 20s this weekend, event commander and head of local policing Superintendent Chris Hillery has urged fans to stay hydrated and avoid disorder.

"This is a multinational event. It's very diverse with people coming from all over the world so lots of countries will be represented," said Superintendent Hillery.

"It's hot, there are lots of bars, alcohol flowing, so from my perspective I need people to stay hydrated.

"Beer and cider is not hydration.

"But equally I need people to take care of their property. When they're in that close proximity to a big screen people can take advantage - pickpockets, opportunists - and we need people to take care of themselves and their valuables.

"And not get involved in drunken behaviour, anti-social behaviour and disorder."

He added: "Alcohol, sunshine, football often equals disorder."

To help fans stay hydrated throughout the weekend Silverstone has increased the amount of water on site with security guards also happy to hand some out to those in need.

Superintendent Hillery was speaking from inside the police's mobile command unit - the first of its kind, the only one in the UK and one of seven in the world.

The unit was designed by FRS and Northamptonshire Police with input from the likes of firearms officer, negotiators and fire officers.

New technology has been made available to Superintendent Hillery this year to help keep crime down and keep people safe.

"We've got live stream bodywork footage this year, which we didn't have last year, which effectively means I could deploy that with a police officer or a fire officer.

"Their footage will live stream straight into here so I've got situational awareness.

"What they can see I can see with audio."

Planning for the police operation began last year, with ANPR monitoring beginning two weeks ahead of the Grand Prix.

Armed police remain a visible presence though there is less tension at this year's race than there was last year with the GP coming months after a number of terror attacks in the UK.

"We're still at 'severe' nationally, and I understand the timelines since those events, but I think there's now an expectation from the public around these size events, these types of events," said Supt Hillery.

"There's an expectation of police visibility and police presence and that's part of our core role; to keep safe, protect them from harm and allow them to enjoy an event in the UK they can go home from with positive memories."

As of Friday lunchtime, no arrests had been made and no crimes reported.

One new aspect the police are looking out for this year is drone flying.

Supt Hillery said: "One of the concerns for me this year is the advances in drone technology, not just from a criminal perspective because there's all sorts of things people can use drones for.

"It's a no-fly zone. The heliport here is the busiest in Europe on race day, an aircraft movement every 15 seconds.

"Somebody putting a drone up could cause a real safety issue and impact on the aircraft, impact on the race.

"We've mapped out drone sites where people might take off from so we can patrol those sites.

"In the main, I'm sure people are just using them to grab a great bit of footage."