The first crime figures for this year’s Bestival show that a total of 202 crimes were reported to Hampshire Constabulary at the event, including 12 assaults and 106 tent thefts – an overall increase of 20 crimes compared to 2015’s total.
Police say the rise in crime levels can primarily be attributed to the 106 thefts from tents that have been reported to officers, an increase of 31 thefts from last year. 5 people have been arrested in connection with the thefts.
While there is a slight increase in overall crime, the level has remained comparable with previous years at the event and no reports have been made for some more serious crimes, such as rape, serious sexual offences, or grievous bodily harm.
Elsewhere a total street value of £175,000 of illegal drugs and psychoactive substances was seized by police officers and security staff. Of this £62,518 was collected in amnesty bins before festival-goers entered the site, almost double the amount submitted to amnesty in 2015.
Of particular note a Ford Transit van was stopped coming off the ferry at Fishbourne on Thursday and 14,000 NoS canisters were located in the back of the vehicle and seized by police officers. 3 people were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply under the new psychoactive substances legislation which was introduced in May. 2 men aged 23 and 27 from London have been bailed until 1st December pending further enquiries. A third man has been released and will face no further action.
Hampshire Constabulary say the only sexual offence that was reported over the weekend relates to a victim who was kissed by a man she did not know.
In total 13 assaults were reported, none of which led to serious injury. 12 assaults were reported at Bestival in 2015.
Excluding thefts from tents (106) a further 40 thefts were reported at the event. The total figure of 146 compares to 111 in 2015 and 177 in 2014.
A total of 40 arrests were made at the event, 30 of these were for drugs offences (the majority being possession with intent to supply), and 5 for theft offences.
“We worked closely with Bestival’s organisers and partner agencies to keep all those attending safe, and the initial figures which were compiled on Sunday evening, show that our operations onsite have been very successful.
“A higher amount of drugs was submitted to amnesty or seized than in previous years, much of this before it even reached the Bestival site, which is a really positive result.
“There were no other serious crimes and no-one was seriously hurt, which is a reflection on the effective planning and partnership working that has gone on behind the scenes. I’m particularly pleased that the work we have put into promoting our campaigns around serious sexual offences have been reflected in the statistics with no rapes being reported, alongside the joint work to keep children safe
“There seems to have been an amount of speculation during the event on social media about thefts onsite, and while the number of thefts from tents has increased slightly this year, we have remained committed to preventing and investigating these thefts alongside the organisers. The level of theft is below that reported in 2014 at Bestival and a large amount of property, which may have been stolen, has been recovered when we made five arrests on suspicion of theft offences. We will now be working to re-unite people with their property if it is identified as stolen. However we can only do this if it has been reported to us. I’d therefore urge anyone who has left Bestival, but who feels they have been a victim of crime, to contact us by calling 101 or visiting our website”.