Police set for festival challenge

A DEDICATED team of police officers is being drafted in to keep thousands of festival-goers safe this weekend.

More than 100 officers, PCSOs and police staff are being deployed at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival as 60,000 music fans flock to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Biffy Clyro and the Kings of Leon.

Hampshire police have joined forces with organisers to launch an action plan that aims to uphold the festival’s long-established reputation for having low crime and a friendly atmosphere.

Any drug dealers will be targeted by officers and trained security staff as the festival maintains its tough stance against illegal substances, as well as so-called legal highs.

Officers are reminding people that while they are known as legal highs, they can be potentially fatal and banned at the festival, with action taken against those caught using them on site.

Police staff will be stationed at Southampton’s Red Funnel terminals giving festival-goers crime prevention tips, and once they arrive at Seasclose Park they will be told about the interactive ways they can stay safe throughout the weekend.

Success last year in avoiding the traffic chaos of 2012 is also hoped to be repeated with specialist teams of traffic control officers given deferred police powers to direct traffic to keep everyone moving.

There will also be extra highvisibility patrols in Newport, focused on the Fairlee Road area, to ensure those leaving the site remain safe on their way home.

Hampshire Constabulary’s Isle of Wight Festival police commander Chief Superintendent Dave Hardcastle said: “We want festivalgoers to enjoy themselves safely again this year, and we want any criminals to be warned off by our regular rigorous approach to protecting the Island.

“It’s always essential for police to patrol in partnership with security staff to ensure a safe festival.

“More than 100 officers, PCSOs and police staff will be deployed on duties in and around the festival site during the event.”

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