ORGANISERS of Dance Crusade have hit back at police criticisms of the organisation of the all-day music festival which took place back in May.
As reported in YourThurrock on Saturday, the police have made stinging criticisms ahead of a Thurrock Council Licensing Committee meeting next Wednesday when the viability of Dance Crusade 2011 will be discussed.
Organiser Jimmy Lee has issued the following statement:
“We are disappointed to hear that Essex Police appear to be seeking for any licence request for Dance Crusade 2010 to be refused. We are keen to
discuss and solve any issues, be they from Police, councillors or local businesses. We have tried to schedule a debrief with police to address this
year’s event and to ensure that any improvements can be dealt with as part of our extensive planning for Dance Crusade 2011. So far we have not had
any response to our request.
Dance Crusade was a major event with 5,000 people coming from across the region. We accept that there were issues and we have already put in place
measures to address these.
For example, even though toilet facilities were at the recommended event levels, we found that they were insufficient. Dance Crusade 2011 will have
more and better toilets. The bar was also inadequate and led to long queues. There will be more serving points at any future event. We were not
happy with the exit strategy and we are looking at offering more free transport from the site and to nearby bus and rail links.
When you plan an event of this scale, you look to the experts. We consulted with experienced organisers of the nation’s biggest music festivals as part
of our stringent planning for Dance Crusade. Our investment in event security at Dance Crusade outweighs many similar events and shows the level
of importance we place on public safety.
Throughout our event planning process, we sought advice from Essex Police and discussed issues of public safety. We were appreciative of the level of
consultation with Essex Police in planning this event and we complied with all safety recommendations. This included over-18 ID checks, metal
detectors, CCTV, sniffer dogs and perimeter patrols, as well as two SIA guards for every 100 people on site.
On the day, their team of officers worked with us to make Dance Crusade an event that was generally safe and enjoyed by the majority of visitors. The
overall atmosphere at the event cannot be questioned.
We are surprised by the number of apparent incidents quoted by the Police. On the day, we had only two reports of minor scuffles that were dealt with
by our security team. Independent on-site first aid professionals commended us on event management and stated that injuries and incidents were well
below average for such an event.
We are confident that with the experience and learnings of this year’s event plus a longer consultation and planning process, Dance Crusade 2011 will be
a safe and enjoyable event that both Essex & Thurrock should be proud of hosting.