Merseyside Police have reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring safety and security at the upcoming Grand National day at Aintree, following reports of potential protests by activists. According to the Mail on Sunday, over 100 activists are planning to storm security fences at the racecourse and form a human barricade across the National course. It was reported that the ringleaders of the planned protest had visited the racecourse twice to identify potential security weaknesses.
Merseyside Police stated that they have a robust policing plan in place for the event, in collaboration with partners including The Jockey Club. They respect the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression, but will not tolerate any public order or criminal offences, which will be dealt with firmly.
A spokesperson for Merseyside Police said: “Merseyside Police has a robust policing plan in place for Aintree, as it does for any major public event, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved.
“We have been working with our partners, including The Jockey Club, for a number of months in the build up to this year’s festival to ensure that any necessary plans and processes are in place to deal with any incidents that may arise and to prevent any significant or ongoing disruption to racegoers and local residents and businesses.
“We respect the right to peaceful protest and expression of views, but public order or criminal offences will not be tolerated and will be dealt with robustly.”
There have been previous incidents of protests at racing events, including six activists who ran onto the track at Epsom before the Derby in 2022, and four climate-change protesters who chained themselves to the rail at Royal Ascot in 2021.
In 1993, the National was declared void after protestors entered the track near the first fence, leading to delays and two false starts before the race was finally run. In 1997, the race was postponed by two days due to a bomb threat, but Lord Gyllene won the rescheduled contest.
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