Large numbers of people will gather at Seaclose Park in Newport this week to enjoy the popular event, which runs from Thursday 16th September until Sunday 19th September – much later than the usual June spot.
Hampshire Constabulary is maintaining its close co-operation with festival organisers, Solo, and partner agencies to keep crime as low as possible so that festival-goers can enjoy a fun and safe event.
Hampshire Constabulary’s Isle of Wight Festival police commander, Chief Superintendent Dave Powell, said:
“The Isle of Wight Festival has maintained a reputation for having low levels of crime and providing a family-friendly atmosphere which continues to attract visitors every summer.
“Despite the event being cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are expecting to see over 50,000 people to attend throughout the duration of the Festival, with approximately 30,000 camping.
“While incidents of low-level crime occurred at the last Isle of Wight Festival back in 2019, this represented a reduction in reported crime from previous years. This is a positive movement and one which is in-keeping with the festival’s reputation for being relaxed and family-friendly.
“We want festival-goers to enjoy themselves safely and without fear of becoming a victim of crime.
“Working with the event organisers, we are committed to protecting those attending and the wider population on the island”
2019’s Isle of Wight festival saw a significant drop (59%) in the number of overall thefts reported, compared to 2018’s festival. While this is a positive, Police advise members of the public not to be complacent and to remain vigilant to the risks of leaving valuables in tents.
Although Hampshire Constabulary strongly advise leaving valuables at home, it’s understood you may have to bring some with you. If you do; only bring what you can afford to lose. You can keep them safe at night by keeping them in your sleeping bag while you sleep. It is not just a phone you could be losing, but sentimental photographs and memories too.
Police are also advisig festival-goers to make a list of all the serial and model numbers for electrical items and register their possessions with IMMOBILISE. This ensures they are properly marked, so Police can identify the owners of recovered property with ease.
Road safety & supporting the traffic management plan
Hampshire Constabulary’s Roads Policing Unit (RPU) Inspector Andrew Tester said:
“Teamwork involving all agencies is a crucial part of ensuring the safety of island residents and visitors on the roads during festival season, and we will be supporting our partners’ traffic management plan.
“It is one of the busiest weeks of the year for the island – and this could be exacerbated by the fact that this is likely to be one of the first festivals that individuals have been able to enjoy since the pandemic – so some delays across the island will be inevitable. I would remind all road users to allow more time for their journeys during the week of the festival.
“Our officers will be taking a robust approach to dealing with any motorists who we believe are putting lives at risk by drink or drug-driving throughout their attendance at the festival.”
Protecting people from illegal drugs and psychoactive substances
Superintendent Clare Jenkins said:
“The Isle of Wight Festival organisers are retaining a clear and tough stance against illegal drugs. Their use and sale will not be condoned or tolerated at the festival, and people suspected of carrying and supplying illegal drugs will be searched.
“This is part of the event security team’s drug disruption plans, including their use of passive drugs detection dogs and searches covering points of entry.
“Amnesty bins will be provided by the event organisers in advance of entry points to give people the opportunity to surrender illegal substances.
“Security staff will be targeting those involved in the supply and possession. You could be arrested, or lose your festival ticket and be banned from the site for the remainder of the weekend.”
New psychoactive substances, previously known as ‘legal highs’, remain prohibited at the festival. They are now illegal to produce and supply. If reports of any sales arise, festival organisers will take action to stop them. Substances such as Nitrous Oxide – known more commonly as ‘Laughing Gas’ or ‘NOS’ fall into this category.
These substances can be labelled as ‘air fresheners’, ‘herbal incense’, ‘research chemicals’, ‘plant food’, and ‘not for human consumption’. It is clear that some of these substances are far from harmless. They often contain a range of compounds which are rarely consistent, and are different to those advertised on the packet or at the point of sale.
Policing Newport and the rest of the Isle of Wight
Superintendent Clare Jenkins said:
“The safety and security of people elsewhere on the Isle of Wight remains an equally essential priority for local policing.
“Our response to emergencies, crime and disorder across the rest of the island will be the same. Anyone should call 999 in an emergency as usual.
“In Newport, extra high-visibility patrols will again be focused on the Fairlee Road area and surrounding side roads to provide reassurance and responses to any concerns raised by residents.
“They can call on the services of their regular officers and PCSOs from the local Newport Neighbourhood Policing Team.”