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Police are putting plans in place to help 50,000 revellers stay safe and avoid crime during the Bestival music festival on the Isle of Wight.
Islanders and visitors will be at Robin Hill Country Park near Newport to enjoy live music and entertainment between Thursday, September 8, and Monday, September 12.
Click here to see the 2011 line-up.
Police are working closely alongside the event organisers and other emergency services to maintain public safety and prevent crime.
People taking vehicles to this year's Bestival are being reminded of the dangers of drink or drug driving. Officers from Hampshire Constabulary's Roads Policing Unit (RPU) are at the event to help keep motorists safe and enforce the law.
On offer this year is the chance for motorists heading away from the Bestival to take a breathalyser test to see if they're fit to get behind the wheel. The voluntary test is available at the campsite police office and from officers on patrol for anyone who genuinely wants to drive but is unsure if their alcohol level has returned to zero. All you have to do is breathe into the kit and we'll let you know whether or not if you're safe to get behind the wheel. You won't be arrested if you're not safe, but you will be told not to attempt to drive. Our aim is to keep everyone safe from harm on the roads.
As part of Hampshire Constabulary's Summer Drink and Drug Campaign, police are asking how much is a life worth? If you choose to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you'e more likely to crash and more likely to kill or seriously injure yourself, your friends, and other people on the road. If drink or drug-driving doesn't kill you or someone else, it can still ruin lives. You can't put a value on a life, so why take the risk? Police will be taking every opportunity to stop drivers we suspect of being under the influence and arresting anyone who fails an impairment test.
Do not let drugs destroy your life at the Bestival
Police continue to co-operate closely with the event organisers to intercept illegal and harmful substances. Our policy aims to avoid being obtrusive and confrontational. We offer advice and support through independent drugs counsellors to anyone at risk from substance misuse. This approach is recognised as best practice by other police forces. Amnesty bins are provided so Bestival goers can volunteer to give away any controlled substances before they enter the event.
Officers and drugs dogs are on duty at entrance to the Bestival. They will have the right to search anyone suspected of being in possession of drugs. Anyone arrested on suspicion of supplying illegal drugs will not be allowed into the Bestival
arena again as they will have breached a condition of entry.
At last year's Bestival, a 22-year-old university student was caught by police with more than £2,000 worth of illegal drugs. She was jailed for three years in March this year. The sentence clearly had a devastating impact on her education, family and future prospects. We hope others will heed the warning about the consequences of getting involved with supplying drugs at festivals.
It's important to remember sales of so-called 'legal highs' are banned at the Bestival. If reports of any sales are received, security stewards and the police will take action.
The government's minister for crime prevention Angela Browning wrote an open letter to organisers of major summer events in May this year.
"While people selling these products may give the impression they are legal and safe, they are more than likely not legal, and are certainly not safe. Anyone taking them is playing Russian roulette with their health, and if you are caught selling or buying them you could face arrest and prosecution. The festival season is one of our great summer traditions and we want people to enjoy it responsibly and without breaking the law."
Issues surrounding 'legal highs' were managed effectively at Bestival in 2010 with only one seizure of substances. Police welcome the zero tolerance attitude of Bestival organisers towards 'legal highs', which are prohibited at the event
again this year. We were pleased that the majority of people last year appeared to have taken notice of the health warnings during ongoing national concerns about these substances.
Crime prevention and personal safety
Since last year, the Bestival campsite has been larger to accommodate more people. A range of crime prevention measures will be used again this year to help protect people and property:
- Police will be patrolling the campsites with event security stewards.
- Crime prevention lanyards will be distributed to Bestival goers who can use them to secure mobile phones and wallets to their bodies.
- Officers will distribute lanyards and bags personally and take the opportunity to highlight crime prevention advice:
- Don't keep all your cash together
- Protect your mobile phone
- Mark your property
- Camp near friends
- There is a police campsite office next to the family and blue campsites. The office will be open each day during the Bestival between 7am and 10pm. Police campsite patrols will continue during the night.
- Crime prevention and personal safety advice is available via the Hampshire Constabulary website and social media channels:
People caught trading in counterfeit wristbands will be arrested and face prosecution. A man received a two-year prison sentence in April 2009 for his role in a conspiracy to supply counterfeit wristbands at the 2007 Isle of Wight Festival. The police welcome the continued use of increased security measures by the organisers.
To report a crime, dial 999 in an emergency, or 101 for non-emergencies.
From outside Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, call police on 0845 045 45 45. Mini-Com users can call the police on 01962 875000. Information can be given anonymously by calling the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.