Policing the party 2007 – Reading Festival

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Policing the party 2007 – Reading Festival

Posted: 22/08/2007 12:44:34

The policing operation to ensure Reading Festival remains a safe event for revellers and residents alike has begun as the first of the estimated 80,000 visitors to the event begin to arrive.

The annual event is one of the biggest occasions of the year in the borough and this one will be no different.

Until Monday (27/8), the police will work to a special operation order, tried and tested over the years of the festival, to ensure the event is safe for those attending and also that it has minimum impact on the surrounding community.

Working in partnership with the organisers, Festival Republic, Royal Berks Fire and Rescue Service, Midlands Fire and Rescue Service, Berkshire Ambulance Service, British Transport Police, the Environment Agency, Festival Medical Services and Reading Borough Council, the police will be playing a number of different roles throughout the weekend.

A police command unit will be set up for the weekend with senior police commanders Supt Steve Hockin and Ch Insp Steve Thwaites, overseeing the operation.

A police station, complete with staff to record crimes, a front counter service, interview teams and rooms and prisoner holding areas will be on the site and will open at midday today (22/8). Officers will also be providing high profile patrols in areas to prevent thefts from tents, violence and robberies. They will be supported by security staff employed by Festival Republic.

The event takes a year to plan in terms of policing and officers from across the Force work on their days off in order to man the event.

This year the planners have also faced additional problem as a result of the recent flooding and it was announced on Monday that there would be no orange parking on site. This has been moved to the white camp at Mapledurham.

Police are keen to ensure revellers do what they can to prevent themselves from becoming a victim of crime at the festival.

The huge majority of the crime over the weekend is preventable and most are thefts from tents. Once again, people are reminded that tents cannot be locked and secured and, therefore, nothing should be left in them. This includes clothing, bedding, alcohol and other personal items.

If anyone would like any advice on what they should bring to the festival or on personal security they can e-mail readingfestival@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk and they will receive a reply from a member of the policing operation team.

Crime Reduction Adviser John McNicholas, said: “Revellers are urged to only bring what they can carry and to leave valuables at home. If you do bring anything into the site that is valuable to you then please make sure you use the lockers.”

Supt Steve Hockin, said: “Considering the huge number of people who come to the festival, it is usually a peaceful and well-organised event where a good time is had by all – even in appalling weather conditions.

“However, with such a gathering of large people comes an opportunity that, for many, is too good to miss and every year there are the same issues, with people having goods stolen out of their tents or going to other parts of Reading and falling victim of crime.

“My plea to people coming to the festival is to have a good time and enjoy themselves but also to use their common sense. Leave valuables at home and only bring what you can carry.

“If it is left in your tent, it is more than likely going to be stolen so, please, do not be complacent.”

Note to editors: For interview bids please contact the Berkshire West communications team.

Permalink: http://www.thesite.co.uk/viewnewsstory.asp?newsid=1985&placeid=188

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