Inspector Steve Capper today said that Thames Valley Police have yet to receive a formal request to run the race Archer RC have claimed has had to be cancelled because of police refusal.

However, the police would be unable to support the running of this race if, as has been the practice over many years, it is held concurrently with the main event. i.e. set off five minutes behind, effectively meaning two road race fields on the same road at the same time.

On this website yesterday, we reported that although the Archer Spring Road Race National B-Race will go ahead of Sunday, April 18, the supporting event which runs concurrently has now been cancelled.

Organiser Stuart Benstead said: “This is most regrettable and is a change of policy from many previous years .

This cancelled race was the first open road race won by Bradley Wiggins when a junior, with other winners being Olympians such as Roger Hammond and Matthew Stephens when they too were juniors, while David  Millar, Tour de France stage winner, was another notable winner as a  youngster on the way up.”

Benstead says the practice of running concurrently with other races on the same circuit has been done for many years without problems.

“Now, at the urging of a civilian lawyer employed by TVP (Thames Valley Police), the policy  has been changed to not allow concurrent races,” says Benstead.

When Cycling Weekly contacted Thames Valley Police (TVP) yesterday, they were unable to clarify anything about a race cancellation.

TVP Traffic Management Officer Andrew Luck said he thought a colleague of his had satisfied Cycling Weekly’s enquiry. When told he had not, Luck said the race was not on his patch and he declined to comment.

But when pressed for reasons why police may refuse permission to run a concurrent race, he said:
“The Policy of police is that we do not agree with two races running concurrently at the same time on the highway. That’s the policy of ACPO [Association of Chief Police Officers]. It’s not my policy. It’s the policy of ACPO.”

This morning, Inspector Steven Capper phoned Cycling Weeky to say.

“We have had no formal request for a race permit for this race. Let me state that we have no objection  to running road races in this area. I have been involved with these matters for many years. But but we would not support the running of what is effectively two races in one. There are safety issues with this.”


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  • Ken Evans

    What has British Cycling done to help ?

  • Philip Simmonds

    To be faire running two races 5 minutes apart on busy roads is a bit head in the sand !
    No disrespect to hard working road race organisers wh’m give there free time , although its justified to defend the right to run road races on the open road ,these days traffic increase & safety of the riders aswell as communtie involvment should be taken into account !

  • Mike Lucas

    Yet another move by our police to remove any sporting event from the roads.
    I came into cycling from running and the police in the last 10 to 12 years have done everything posible to get running off the roads in the North East.
    The classic Morpeth to Newcastle, one of the worlds oldest road races, run on new years day, was forced to change route date and and distance because it might inconvenience drivers going about there business. On new years day?
    Or local Ovingham race, run on quiet back roads was almost cancelled when the local police hand delivered a letter, THE NIGHT BEFOR THE EVENT, warning the organizer he would be personally responsible for the safety of the runners. This after agreeing to the yearly event when police permision was asked for. We were also told the police could not spare the manpower needed. This did not stop them positioning a patrol car outside the event HQ on race day to see what the organizers would do.
    I thought the police were there for the safety and and security of the public, not just to ensure Joe Bloggs can go shopping 24 hours a day without being held up for a nanosecond by a bike or a runner.

  • simon owens

    ACPO is not “self interested”, it is structured, meets regularly and coordinates work across a range of well defined business areas, roads policing being one of them. ACPO brings the views of all the forces together and develops policy and guidance, the application of which is then down to individual forces.

    The actual decision to refuse permission is therefore from TVP, not ACPO. ACPO as a corporate body would not be involved in decision making at this level.

  • Rodrego Hernandez

    To be fair to the Police. This race caused absolute chaos last year. 2 races on, a local football match using the HQ car park meant that cars were parked all along the side of he road. Both races split up and there were groups everywhere, many of the not supported by a lead car, traffic getting caught up in convoys. It was ridiculous. The organiser seemed to have no consideration to the locals who were affected by the races. It is no surprise to see this race cancelled. I would not have ridden again as it was a joke last year. This isn’t sour grapes either as I was in the prizes!

  • dave Irving

    It is time all cyclists also took a stand against this, I always understood that we had the right to compete on open roads and only required to notify the police of our intent.
    Matt is right, you only have to take the report in a Scottish paper where a driver who was stopped at the traffic lights and was observed to be blowing his nose was charged and taken to court, OK the case was dropped but why was the policeman not charged with wasting the courts time.
    The Archer people had carried out Risk assessment as required by our crazy society and it was considered to be safe so what was the problem?

  • Matt Williams

    The Police don’t want to stop speeding dangerous drivers. But they do stop bike races. Probably because they like to drive around in fast patrol cars and bikes just get in the way.

  • bryan clarke

    My understanding, I might be wrong, is that ACPO is NOT an official body. It is a group of self interested police chiefs who meet as and when they see fit. If it is true that they have no legal status or financial support, how is it that a group of unofficial people, with no standing other than their own self intrests, can make these kinds of decisions when the law and the precedent on the matter suggests that it is possible ?