Paddy Power unveiled its P.E.S.T. (Protester Exit Support Team) initiative on Monday, June 19 after it emerged that more than £100,000 had reportedly been spent on additional security for Royal Ascot after authorities opted against seeking an injunction to cover the threat of disruption or trespass at one of flat racing’s most prestigious meetings.
The Irish bookmaker pointed out that a dangerous minority of demonstrators have made enemies of their peaceful protesting allies by sprinting across racetracks (Epsom Derby), sticking themselves to obstacles (Aintree Grand National), strolling in front of buses (the England cricket team) and powdering everything from snooker tables and rugby pitches to Chelsea Flower Show displays to make their point.
Despite their best efforts to date, His Majesty’s Protester Removal Team have struggled to tackle disruptive demonstrators engaging in reckless behaviour to make their point - a survey of 2,000 Brits revealed that just 39% feel they're doing an adequate job.
The survey, commissioned by Paddy Power, further found that while 75% of the public agree that people have the right to protest, an overwhelming 81% think sporting events should not be targeted.
In fact, 74% feel that disrupting sports events is harmful to protestors, while 73% think protestors using dangerous tactics to get noticed should be banned from attending all sports.
With many other massive sporting occasions on the horizon, including The Ashes, tennis, not to mention The Open, Paddy Power says its P.E.S.T patrol vows to maintain a presence on the frontline of sport.
A spokesperson for the firm said: “We see you problematic protesters, and we’re offering to raise your profile…to a safe altitude of approximately 300 meters.”
They continued: “Everyone has the right to protest peacefully, but a small minority of activists are wreaking havoc at major sporting events this summer, endangering athletes, animals and spectators with their reckless actions.
“They’re sapping the joy out of one of the purest forms of escapism we’ve got left, and worst of all, they’re making wallies out of His Majesty’s servants by proving they were all clearly rubbish at playing catch when they were kids!
"So, if it’s a high profile these dangerous demonstrators are after, we’ll give it to them, courtesy of our carbon neutral Lucky Pants hot air balloon.”