Dispersal orders granted for RotW and Sonisphere festivals

A SIX-DAY dispersal order has been granted by police and councils for the Sonisphere and Rhythms of the World festivals next weekend.

The order will be in place from July 6 to 11, to cover the Knebworth and Hitchin festivals.

It will give police officers and PCSOs the power to disperse groups of two or more persons that are causing or likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to members of the public.

Police can also ask members of the public or persons in a group to leave the relevant locality and not return within 24 hours. Failure to comply can result in arrest.

Superintendent Simon Hawkins leads the team who have been working with the organisers in preparation for the weekend.

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He said: “I would like to reassure people coming to the festival and the wider local community that crime and anti-social behaviour at the festival has been relatively low in recent years.

“However, we are continuously looking at ways to ensure these figures remain low so that festival goers can enjoy their weekend safely and there is minimal disruption to the local communities.

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“The powers of a dispersal order will only be used where necessary to deal with those intent on disrupting the event with criminal activity.

“They can be used in a preventative measure to reduce the opportunity for people, such as ticket touts, counterfeit goods sellers, to commit crime. They have proved effective at other festivals across the country and I am confident there will be a positive impact in Hertfordshire this year.”

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