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16 June 2011, 09:35
There was a big drop in crime at this year's Isle of Wight festival.
75,000 people were at Seaclose Park over four days.
Provisional police figures suggest overall crime at the Isle of Wight Festival has gone down so far compared to last year.
The overall number of thefts reported, including tent thefts, has fallen from 150 last year (2010) to 106 so far this year, when there was an increase in the size of the festival campsite. The number of assaults reported fell from 20 last year (2010) to eight this year.
Police did patrols on the extended festival campsite with security stewards to disrupt and detect the activities of suspects. Free crime prevention lanyards and bags were handed out to festival goers and they were reminded of precautions to protect their valuable property.
649 people were searched by the police drugs team. This included 18 people arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply. 58 people were bailed for suspected possession offences, and 79 cannabis warnings were issued. Provisional figures show at least £33,000 worth of drugs was seized by police. Further analysis of drugs evidence is being carried out.
No issues with ‘legal highs’ were reported during the event. The sale of these substances is banned under the Isle of Wight Festival’s licence.
One of the police commanders for the Isle of Wight Festival, Superintendent Paul Brooks, said: “Close co-operation and flexible tactics were the key elements in keeping this event a safe and enjoyable experience. All the agencies involved in planning came together in rising to the challenge of an increased festival population. We’re pleased that initial reports of crime are down on last year.
“Police and organisers reacted rapidly to information received throughout the weekend to track and arrest groups of people suspected of planning to commit crime at the festival. We’re grateful for the support of other UK police forces that had officers visiting the event to study our operation, which is regarded as an example of best practice. Other forces also sent dog handlers to assist with the drugs searches, which maintained their unobtrusive approach towards festival goers. Feedback from within the festival site suggested it was extremely difficult to buy and sell drugs this year.
“I’d like to thank the organisers and partner agencies for their combined professionalism and expertise, which were tested in a range of weather conditions. We look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship and helping to
enhance a safe festival experience in future."