Police given dispersal arrest powers for Knebworth festival

Police have been granted a dispersal order

Police have been granted a dispersal order - Credit: Archant

A DISPERSAL order to stop anti-social behaviour during a music festival comes into effect on Friday.

Police will be able to ask groups of two or more people to move on across Stevenage and Knebworth if they are likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to members of the public.

If groups refuse or return to the given area, which also includes Graveley and Little Wymondley, within 24 hours they can be arrested.

The order, granted in conjunction with Stevenage Borough Council and North Herts District Council, starts at 6am tomorrow and runs through to 2pm on Monday to coincide with the Eastern Electrics Festival which takes place in the grounds of Knebworth House from tomorrow until Sunday.

Superintendent Simon Hawkins said: “Working with both councils we have been able to introduce the dispersal order to give police additional powers to deal with anti-social behaviour and associated crime.

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“I would like to reassure people coming to the festival and the wider local community that crime and anti-social behaviour at festivals which have taken place at Knebworth House in recent years have 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.

“The powers of a dispersal order fit with our policing style of friendly but firm and will only be used where necessary to deal with those intent on disrupting the event with criminal activity.”

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Eastern Electrics Festival, which is expected to attract around 20,000 people, features more than 100 electro and dance acts over three days, running from 2pm on Friday until 10pm on Sunday.

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