Three officers commended for 2021 Boat Race policing

Police awards for Boat Race 2021

Chief Inspector Paul Ormerod (left) and Inspector Matt Snow have been commended for their work on policing the 2021 Boat Race at Ely. PC Nicola Lester was also commended - Credit: Cambs Police/Terry Harris

Three police officers have been commended for their co-ordination of the 120-strong policing effort for the Cambridge-Oxford Boat Race at Ely last year. 

PC Nicola Lester, Chief Inspector Paul Ormerod and Inspector Matt Snow received their commendations at a special ceremony at police headquarters.  

They were among those to receive a chief superintendents’ commendation. 

Boat Race 2021 Ely

Boat Race 2021 Ely - Credit: Archant

Boat Race 2021 Ely

Boat Race 2021 Ely - Credit: Archant

Chief superintendents Mark Greenhalgh and Becky Tipping praised officers and staff for their determined investigations and outstanding achievements. 

A police spokesperson said: “For the global TV audience of nine million, the Oxford v Cambridge event on Sunday April 4 seemed to be an exciting but non-eventful sporting spectacle. 

“However, the fact that nothing happened is due to the many hours of meticulous planning and the professional behaviour of everyone involved. 

Boat Race 2021 Ely

Boat Race 2021 Ely. Cambridgeshire Police says 120 officers were on duty - Credit: Archant

Police Prepare to close roads around the start line for the Cambridge v Oxford Boat Race 2021,
Great

Police Prepare to close roads around the start line for the Cambridge v Oxford Boat Race 2021, Great River Ouse, Ely Sunday 04 April 2021. Picture by Terry Harris. - Credit: © Terry Harris

“What the public would not be aware of was the complexity of some of the challenges this event presented.” 

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The spokesperson said these included the Covid pandemic – it was the first weekend of the ‘rule of six gatherings being permitted outside’ - and a Health Protection Regulation Order was issued for the first time in the UK on public footpaths and roads. 

The spokesperson said that with the changes in Covid regulations, allowing protests to happen, there was a risk of activist disruption. 

Police Prepare to close roads around the start line for the Cambridge v Oxford Boat Race 2021,
Great

Police Prepare to close roads around the start line for the Cambridge v Oxford Boat Race 2021, Great River Ouse, Ely Sunday 04 April 2021. Picture by Terry Harris. - Credit: © Terry Harris

Other considerations included water safety, drones, and the proximity of a railway line. 

“The fact that the event ran smoothly, and feedback from the many stakeholders involved was overwhelmingly positive, is testament to the hard work, professionalism and skill of the command and planning team,” said the spokesperson.  

Not everyone, however, was happy that residents of Cambridgeshire picked up the bill for the 120 police officers on duty for the Boat Race staged in Ely.  

Residents of Cambridgeshire will pick up the bill for the 120 police officers on duty for the 2021 G

Residents of Cambridgeshire will pick up the bill for the 120 police officers on duty for the 2021 Gemini Boat Race staged in Ely.. - Credit: © Terry Harris

The decision was criticised by – among others – police and crime commissioner candidate Rupert Moss-Eccardt.  

“Much as it was nice to see Ely and the surrounding area showcased, I was disappointed that this has cost our cash strapped force significant sums,” he said.  

A Cambridgeshire police spokesperson confirmed last year that the force provided their services free of charge.  

Boat Race 2021 Ely

Boat Race 2021 Ely - Credit: Archant

“We have received no payment,” said a spokesperson. “The Boat Race is a national event organised by a not-for-profit organisation.” 

It was “unlike other sporting events such as football where people pay to go and watch”.