The London Marathon needs a stronger police presence to deal with recurrent drug-taking and violence, according to the City of London’s chief safety officer.
David MacKintosh, the City of London Corporation’s head of community safety, has said the marathon brings “large groups of young adults consuming alcohol and drugs…particularly nitrous oxide”, which has contributed to “violent disorder”.
The corporation’s policy and resources committee will vote on Thursday whether to take forward a request to grant the City of London Police a Public Space Protection Order for next year.
The order would allow the police force to use additional powers, such as refusing entry to some areas, for the 2020 London Marathon.
MacKintosh said 500 “highly intoxicated young adults” made Trinity Square, Farringdon, a “no go area” this year.
This was despite the presence of 100 City of London Police officers in the area.
“The large groups who congregate in Trinity Square and its vicinity, create a hostile environment and are often verbally abusive towards those competing in the London Marathon as well as other spectators,” MacKintosh said.
The disorderly behaviour has caused concern about the reputation of the event, which provides an estimated £128m in economic benefits to London each year.
This year, the City of London Corporation increased barriers, installed CCTV cameras and cancelled a DJ set to try and combat the issue.
However, MacKintosh said it was to no avail.
A London Marathon spokesperson confirmed that organisers were aware of the problem.
“In recent years, there has been a gathering of young people drinking and taking nitrous oxide in one isolated area in the City,” they said.
“We will continue to work to support the police in every way we can to ensure that spectators can enjoy the world’s greatest marathon.”