Effective pre-event planning and close working with partner agencies have positively impacted the successful policing of Kendal Calling 2019.
This year’s event – which saw around 30,000 people attending over the weekend – has brought particular challenges due to the weather, with record temperatures on the first day giving way to a deluge of rain for almost the entirety of Saturday.
Superintendent Justin Bibby paid tribute to the hard work of his own officers, as well as the staff of other agencies.
Superintendent Bibby said: “Cumbria Police has worked closely with the event organisers and other partner agencies in the lead up to the event and throughout the weekend.
“The first priority of all our officers is keeping people safe from harm and our collaboration with the festival organisers, on-site security and other agencies has allowed us to do this effectively.
“Our operations to reduce volume crime including theft has been successful whilst the targeted nature of our drugs work has resulted in us apprehending a number of people intent on doing harm through the supply of drugs.
“I would like to thank all of the police officers and staff who have worked diligently and professionally throughout the event – often in difficult weather conditions – as well as all of the other agencies involved in Kendal Calling.”
In the early hours of this morning (29 July) a rape was reported to have taken place inside a tent on the site. Officers and security staff responded swiftly and a 26-year-old man from the Manchester area was arrested on suspicion of rape. He is currently in police custody.
A total of 10 arrests were made over the course of the event on suspicion of possession with intent to supply, with a further four arrests made on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of drugs.
A further two arrests were made for possession of drugs.
Three people were arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly and one arrest was made for a public order offence.
A 52-year-old man was arrested late on Friday night(26 July) on suspicion of an offence of upskirting. He has been released under investigation whilst officers continue to investigate.
Chief Inspector Andy Wilkinson said: “Our efforts to specifically target those seeking to bring illegal drugs onto the site has seen positive results, with a sharp rise in the number of arrests made for possession with intent to supply drugs. This has been a direct consequence of the planning and effective collaboration between ground control, FGH Security and ourselves.
“Our dog section and their handlers have worked tirelessly throughout the event. This work not only contributed to the number of drugs supply arrests but also resulted – alongside the strong take-up at the amnesty bins – in drugs being seized and tested on site.
“This testing meant ourselves and the event organisers were able to get good intelligence about drugs which may be on site. Some of the drugs recovered caused us a high level of concern due to their strength and their potential to cause serious harm to people. However, this joined up working allowed the different agencies the chance to warn people of their dangers.
“Finally, I would like to urge those leaving the site today to only get behind the wheel if they are safe to do so. We have officers on the county’s roads who will stop anyone they suspect of being over the limit for either drink or drugs. We also urge people to follow the instructions publicised on the police social media channels regarding the most efficient routes for leaving the site and getting home.”
Peter McCall, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Kendal Calling is consistently drawing in bigger crowds year after year.
“The increase in popularity brings more people into the county which is great but also means an increase in risk to public safety which is why the police need to plan and work with partners to reduce the risk of harm as much as possible.
“All festivals across the UK have issues with substance abuse and Kendal Calling is no different – our Constabulary has developed expertise in dealing with and tackling the drugs culture not only with the police dogs but with the amnesty bins as well.
“The main priority of the Constabulary is public safety, both for Cumbrian residents and visitors, so I’m very pleased to see the positive effect of the work the Constabulary have done again this year in some really challenging weather conditions to policing Kendal Calling and making the event safe and welcoming for everyone involved. I would add my sincere thanks to all of the officers involved, including those from other forces who have worked professionally and incredibly hard, coping with the mud and heavy rain with their superb dogs.”