By Essex Police
Steer clear of the V Festival if you’re thinking about committing crime – that’s the message from Essex Police in the run up to the music festival in Chelmsford.
The two-day festival is a safe one and Essex Police will be working to make sure it stays that way with officers patrolling Hylands Park on foot, horseback and bike.
Crime levels have been low in previous years but visitors are encouraged to take note of safety messages which will be displayed on big screens on site and shared using Bluetooth.
Like last year, festival goers will also be able to log on to a dedicated section on the Essex Police website at www.essex.police.uk/festivalsfor safety advice, travel information and tips on how to keep your belongings safe and avoid ticket touts.
We’ll also be tweeting helpful tips and advice via our Twitter channel in the run up to and during the festival using #vfestival. You can follow us @essexpoliceuk
Around 90,000 people are expected to visit the festival each day and unfortunately there will always be a small number who come for the wrong reason – to target other people’s property. There will be regular patrols by uniform and non-uniformed officers but festival goers are advised to leave valuable belongings at home. If you do have to bring them, look after them and make use of the lockers on site.
Festival goers who feel the need to carry a mobile phone should think about putting their sim card in an old phone and leaving their smart phones and blackberries at home.
Essex Police will be working with the Essex Drug and Alcohol Partnership (EDAP) throughout the festival. We will be taking positive action against anyone found in possession of drugs, drugs dogs will be on site and officers will be carrying out random searches. We’ll also be working with Trading Standards at Essex County Council to crack down on the sale of legal highs and anyone found to be in possession of them will be refused entry.
Drug amnesty bins will be set up at entrances to the site and drug workers from EDAP will be on site to engage with anyone found in possession of drugs for personal use and to offer them access to support services.
If you bring drugs with you, you could end up spending the day in the cells while your friends enjoy the festival!
Officers will also be on the look out for drink and drug drivers and using automated number plate recognition (ANPR) to identify cars and drivers wanted for committing crime.
In previous years visitors have arrived at the festival to discover they have been sold fake tickets via unofficial websites. Anyone with a fake ticket will not be allowed in and police will be working to keep ticket touts away.
While we don’t want to stop people having a good time we’re reminding festival goers not to put themselves in a vulnerable position by drinking excessively. Know your limit, keep a look out for friends and stick together especially during the evenings.
Supt Steve Johnson said: “V Festival is a safe festival and we want to make sure it stays that way. We’ll be working to make it as safe and enjoyable an event as possible for everyone involved but we would ask visitors to follow our safety advice and take sensible precautions to stop their weekend being ruined by a very small number of people who may come to the festival for the wrong reason.
“The festival is a fun occasion and one to which criminals are not welcome.
Our officers will be working covertly and overtly to stop them in their tracks. We won’t tolerate those who set out to ruin the occasion by committing crime.”
Ben Hughes, Strategic Manager for EDAP said: “Drugs are just as illegal at festivals as they are anywhere else and we are working with Essex Police to ensure that drugs do not get into V Festival.
“Taking drugs or so called ‘legal highs’ at any time carries health risks, but being at a festival can make the effects worse and the risks increase if you get them from someone you don’t know at a festival. Also combining drugs and alcohol makes the effects even more unpredictable, and can be lethal.
“At V Festival drug workers will be on hand if anyone needs help. Make sure you don’t remember this year’s festival for the wrong reasons.”
To find out more about staying safe at V Festival, visit our dedicated microsite www.essex.police.uk/festivalsand follow @essexpoliceuk on Twitter.