Police issue serious concerns about ‘obvious use of drugs’ at We Are FSTVL as organisers apply for 5,000 more people
PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 February 2017
Concerns about underage drinking, “freely available” drugs and high amounts of crime have been highlighted as organisers of a popular-dance festival await a decision on increasing ticket allocation by 5,000.
Around 25,000 revellers descended on We Are FESTVL in 2016 for two days of music as it entered its fourth year.
This year, the festival hopes to allow 29,999 people through the gates with an additional campsite catering for 9,000 people.
Organisers have submitted a licensing application for this year’s event to end at 5am on the three nights and alcohol to be served until 2am.
However, a number of representations from police and council officers have been filed ahead of councillors giving the green light.
Havering Police hold “serious concerns” over a number of issues including the “obvious use of drugs” during last summer’s event.
Plain-clothed officers were said to only take 10 minutes on site before coming across the use of drugs.
Officers report finding 20 people sitting around while a group of males sold balloons blown up with nitrous oxide.
One festival-goer is said to have developed a drug-induced psychosis which led to the alleged later assault of his partner and nurses in Queen’s Hospital.
In a report, Arthur Hunt, Havering Council’s licensing officer said: “It was clear at last year’s event that nitrous oxide was freely available, as demonstrated by the small caplets distributed about the floor after patrons had left.
“This issue was raised via the police as to how this amount of nitrous oxide got into the event with the search programme at the entrance - this was never resolved.”
Crime has also said to be prevalent last summer, with a large amount of underage festival-goers affected.
Police say crime levels at the event were significant enough to rank the venue second in the highest offending licensed premises last year with the festival recording 10 per cent of all offences.
Council officers also highlighted poor ‘Challenge 25’ checking at a number of the bars.
Three out of five bars inspected had no log book entries/no log present and another had just one refusal entry.
The festival’s organisers are attempting to crackdown on problems by hiring five security companies, compared to last year’s two.
We Are FSTVL director Reece Miller said: “We have addressed all the concerns raised in the report to the committee and I’m happy to make further comment when the decision is made.”
Havering Council’s Sub-Committee is due to make a decision on Monday.