COUNTY NEWS: Armed police to guard Sussex festival
Armed police are set to guard Wildlife festival for the first time as security nationwide is stepped up following a series of terror attacks.
Festival-goers have been encouraged to have fun, but to remain alert as armed officers are to deployed to the music festival.
After recent terror attacks in Manchester and London police and organisers SJM Concerts Limited have reviewed and stepped up security in and around the Shoreham Airport site.
More than 20,000 people are expected on Friday and Saturday and with enhanced security checks at the entrance gates, they are being asked to avoid taking bags to the event to help speed up their access.
Superintendent Jim Bartlett said: “Our aim, working with the event organisers, is to provide a safe and secure environment for everyone.
For several months we have worked with partner agencies in preparation for the festival.
“Since the tragic events in Manchester and London we have reviewed the security plans and increased the number of officers that will be on duty.
“We will have armed officers in and around the site, but people should be reassured rather than alarmed by their presence.
“Due to the large volume of visitors expected, there may be some disruption to travel in the area, and we would urge people to be patient and to plan ahead.
“Follow the signage, and heed the advice of stewards and police officers when making your way to and from the site.
“We are asking people to try to avoid bringing bags as this will assist in keeping things moving as quickly as possible through the entrance gates.
“As in previous years, the organisers are taking a strong stance on drugs and anyone trying to take illegal substances into the festival will be refused admission and have their ticket removed.
“This has our full support and we will be working with colleagues from the National Crime Agency to deter and detect offenders. Specialist drug sniffer jobs will be deployed at the entrance gates.
“The event is being run with the full support of the local authority, and we will endeavour to prevent disruption and disorder wherever possible.”
Attendees are also being encouraged to take care of their personal belongings, such as wallets, purses and mobile phones.
Supt Bartlett added: “We want people to take care of themselves and look out for each other. If anyone notices anything suspicious, dangerous or inappropriate, report it to police or stewards so that it can be dealt with immediately.”
Information will be provided and regularly updated by organisers and police on social media, using the #wildlife17 hashtag.