Police gear up to The Tall Ships Races 2018 in Sunderland

21 Jun 2018 09:00 AM

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The final countdown has begun as Northumbria Police gears up to this summer’s Tall Ships Races in Sunderland.

More than a thousand officers from across the force will be on duty at the event, which will run from 10-14 July.

Tall Ships last visited the North-east two years ago in Blyth over the August Bank Holiday, and it’s now less than a month until the coastline running from Sunderland to South Shields glistens in the international spotlight.

More than 50 ships from 16 countries will set sail to Wearside for the eagerly-anticipated event, which marks the first leg of the Races to Esbjerg, Denmark.

Thousands of people are set to visit the city to view some of the world’s most incredible vessels, and police are continuing their preparations to help ensure that everything is in place so everyone can safely enjoy the five-day extravaganza.

The force’s Marine Unit will be out on patrol to help keep the port secure and respond to any incidents, while armed officers will be deployed on the ground with the same overarching aim – to keep the public safe.

“All of us at Northumbria Police are incredibly proud to play a part in The Tall Ships Races in Sunderland this summer,” said Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt.

“It should be a fantastic event which takes place just a fortnight before the brilliant Sunderland Airshow, which has become a much-loved staple in the North-east calendar.

“As with any major events like these where we expect large crowds in attendance, it does pose some challenges from a policing perspective, but we have been working closely with event organisers to help ensure it runs smoothly and any disruption is kept to a minimum.

“Our officers have a vast amount of experience in policing these events and have plans in place to deal with any eventuality.

“We won’t just be there to patrol though. Our officers are looking to engage with the public, and to share in the pride and excitement that the event will bring to Sunderland and South Tyneside.

“It would be great to chat to you, to take pictures with you and to discuss any issues affecting you in your local communities.”

As host port for the event, Sunderland is set to host its biggest ever free public festival spread across four event zones; the Port of Sunderland (Zone A), the Town Moor and East End (Zone B), St Peter’s Riverside (Zone C) and Roker and Seaburn Seafront (Zone 4).

There will be a massive 200 performances of theatre, circus and music – from school choirs, brass bands and local bands such as The Lake Poets and Smoove and Turrell to international performance artists and a high-wire spectacular from Cirque Bijou.

The event is also expected to generate £30m for the city’s economy.

Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Communities and Culture, said: “The city has absolutely pulled out all the stops for this.

“It is a hugely prestigious international event and we intend to make the region proud.”

For more information and a detailed breakdown of each day’s festivities, visit Follow @NorthumbriaPol on Twitter for the latest safety advice as the event draws closer.