Friday marked 100 days until TT22 gets underway and to continue our countdown for the return of the world’s most famous races, we’ve spoken to the Isle of Man Constabulary about all the planning that goes into policing the festival.

While every TT is a challenge, with up to 40,000 visitors heading to our island, this year brings the added difference of there having been no festival for two years, in which time some officers have retired and others have joined either as new recruits or transfers.

However, Chief Inspector Darren Richards said the Constabulary has ‘focused on training and upskilling officers ready for the year ahead. This includes driver and motorcycle training and inputs for front line staff’.

He added: ‘It is equally important that experienced officers who have policed the TT recount stories and teach our younger in service officers our policing style. A true advocate of this is Chief Constable Gary Roberts who has policed many TT events from joining as a young PC right through to leading the organisation into the 2022 event as the head of the Constabulary, good positive leadership is key.

‘New recruits undergo a rigorous and tough selection and training process. Many have learned their trade throughout the Covid Pandemic showing their flexibility and skill in learning and implementing new laws, TT will simply be revitalising the knowledge and skills that have successfully helped us navigate through TT for over 100years. There are serving officers who policed the centenary event who will teach and influence the younger work force, this experience is invaluable.’

Back to Normal

While Covid caused two TT festivals to be axed, the event was always part of the Police’s ‘return to normality’ planning, with virtual meetings and talks being held with partners have ensured that the Constabulary was always going to be ready for the TT coming back.

CI Richards added: ‘The Constabulary’s planning for the TT commenced back in the summer of last year and whilst everyone was thinking about Christmas and New Year festivities several operational TT planning meetings had already been undertaken. The TT Marshals Association even invited a Senior Police Officer to attend and observe the training being delivered to marshals to get them ‘race’ fit for TT 2022. As part of our operational planning we try to look a year ahead.’

Demands on Resources

Throughout TT the Constabulary has to combine the usual demands alongside extra work for the Roads Policing Unit and keeping a friendly eye on the nighttime economy alongside event planners and licensees.

CI Richards said: ‘As an organisation we are well versed with our relaxed but firm policing style and officers are actively encouraged to engage with locals and visitors and are not shy when it comes to being photographed. Often friendships are formed between officers and visiting bikers who return year after year, this year will be no different. As well as the TT Festival it is important to note that although this is a resource intensive event normal business must also resume and careful planning goes into ensuring that sufficient specialist resources are available to deal with any eventuality.’

Doing it in Style

The TT festival is when the Constabulary has its most public engagement, both through social media and there being more officers visibly out in uniform patrolling the roads and towns across the island. CI

Richards said: ‘We have an additional presence on social media to keep the public updated in terms of accidents and potential road closures. In order to provide this response we have to reduce services elsewhere based upon threat and risk. It is a fantastic two week event and although long hours, our staff are all aware for many people this is their annual holiday and we like to be part of that in a good way.

‘The TT Festival is an event where we seek to enhance our islands policing reputation both locally, nationally and indeed internationally. Often visitor comment on our policing style and compare us to counter parts in the UK and it is always good to hear positive feedback, indeed often UK police officers on holiday will often enquire on how you can transfer, indeed many of our transferees are drawn by the lure of motorsport or their love of motorcycles and how they perceive the island during the TT Festival.’

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