Partnership Has Big Impact At Download Again
Showsec’s crime reduction partnership with Leicestershire Police has produced another significant drop in incidents at Download Festival this year.
The impact of the joint operation has resulted in a fall of 35% in reported criminal activity and follows a reduction of almost 70% at the 2014 Festival.
What makes this further decrease particularly satisfying is that there was a considerable increase in the number of people who attended Donington Park this time.
The whole experience for 80,000 fans was made all the more enjoyable by the effect of a joint crime reduction strategy aimed at building upon its initial impact and enhancing Download’s reputation as the United Kingdom’s premier rock festival.
Showsec worked closely with Leicestershire Police on the introduction of a specific Crime Reduction Strategy for the first time in 2014 and this had a profound effect at a festival which could already point to relatively low crime figures for events of this type.
Crime figures at Download have been on a downward curve since 2011 and are now at a five-year low following the Police’s release of the latest results.
At this year’s event, Live Nation introduced cashless RFID technology which meant there was very little cash on site while the Police trialled facial recognition technology, although results of the effectiveness of that trial are subject to a separate report.
Festival Director John Probyn highlighted the importance of these measures in providing the best possible experience for Download’s loyal customers.
“We are absolutely thrilled that crime figures have fallen again at this year’s Download Festival,” he said. “We work tirelessly with Showsec and Leicestershire Police every year to ensure we provide the safest environment for our fans to enjoy nothing but fun and great music.
“These figures are not only testament to the strength and effectiveness of that partnership and the initiatives we introduce to keep fans safe each year, but also to our incredible community of Download festival goers.”
Detective Inspector Matt Ditcher, who was in charge of the Police’s Crime Reduction Strategy, commented: “Crime at Download has always been low, but this year has been really exceptional.
“When you consider that 80,000 people flood into North West Leicestershire over five days, almost doubling the size of its population, it is incredible that so few crimes have been reported to us.
“The figures reflect the hard work and co-operation that goes on between the Police, Live Nation, and Showsec. We work and patrol together to prevent people falling victim to crime either by encouraging them to keep their belongings safe, carrying out proactive joint patrols or by identifying and removing people who are acting suspiciously.
“It’s obvious that our strategy works really well and has been a great success.”
Showsec placed great emphasis on further development of the Crime Reduction Strategy as they looked to build upon such a positive outcome last year.
“We are continually looking to raise the bar higher with our operations, but achieving further progress in this instance presented quite a challenge for us,” explained Showsec Director Simon Battersby, who was the Festival Director of Security.
“This was due to the reduction in crime being so high in 2014 and also due to this year’s Download attracting a considerably higher turnout, both in terms of the large numbers who attended the festival and those who populated all the campsites.
“It’s a measure of the close liaison which we have developed with Leicestershire Police that together we were able to achieve another significant reduction.
“The Chief Constable of Leicestershire Simon Cole and Gold Commander Chief Superintendent Chris Haward were both praiseworthy of the partnership.”
He added: “The introduction of our own specific Crime Reduction Strategy was piloted at Download last year and then subsequently adopted at other festivals.
“We believe this partnership in the case of Download and those with Police forces for festivals in other parts of the country can develop safer and more secure environments in which customers can get even more enjoyment out of their festival experience.”
Download Festival is traditionally one of the largest operations which Showsec mount each year and it was the commitment and professionalism of the team at all levels which ensured they rose to the challenges in this instance – and one in particular.
“The wet weather was obviously one of the biggest challenges,” said Battersby. “It is, of course, all part of working at festivals in an English summer, but even though we’ve experienced it before and know what to expect, it doesn’t make it any easier.
“What does help, however, is having good-natured Download fans who accept it as being part of the whole experience. They may be soaked to the skin and covered in mud, but they don’t let that spoil their enjoyment of the whole occasion.”
The strength of Showsec’s management infrastructure meant that Battersby was supported by Regional Managers Richard Church (Arena Security Manager) and Alan Wallace (Campsite Security Manager) and a number of Area Managers.
These included Joe Milner (Project Manager), Louise Stockden (Control Room Manager), Ieuan Fury (Campsite Security Manager), and Tim Chambers (Arena Security Manager), while Operations Executive Jennifer Edwards was Crime Liaison Manager.
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