As Latitude 2019 approaches, police are asking those visiting the festival to think about their safety and the security of their possessions ahead of their arrival on the site.
The music and arts festival takes place between Thursday 18 and Sunday 21 July this year and police are urging those visiting to plan ahead to ensure they enjoy the event and have a crime-free experience.
The number of people attending the event each year means Latitude has a population equivalent to the size of a small town and, with the setting, the chance to see a variety of acts, and a relaxed atmosphere it can be easy to forget about safety and security. This can make it attractive to those keen to take advantage of visitors lowering their guard.
While only a small number of incidents were reported to police last year – mainly thefts – officers are keen to ensure crime on the site remains low again this year.
The main crime at music festivals across the UK tends to be thefts from tents on campsites. Phones, laptops, tablets and cash are typically the most stolen items. In previous years there have been a number of such offences, many on the first night of the festival when it’s likely that criminals target tents on the assumption that those camping are settling in, have not made plans for their security and may have withdrawn cash to see them through the weekend.
Other thefts have occurred while festivalgoers had their attention diverted while they were watching performances. This included instances where people had camera equipment stolen from near their feet, thefts from bags that were being carried and items stolen from pockets.
You should also bear in mind your personal safety. Meeting new people can be a fun part of the festival experience but going off alone with someone you’ve just met, particularly if alcohol is also involved, can also make you vulnerable.
With this in mind, police are asking you to think about security before you head to the site and to consider a few simple pieces of advice that should help to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time.
Stick with your friends and look out for each other.
Moderate your alcohol consumption. Overdo it and you’ll be less aware and less likely to spot dangers. Have a glass of water between drinks and pace yourself.
Be careful. Festivals give you the opportunity to meet new friends but going off alone with people who you’ve just met may lead you into situations you don’t want to be in.
Remember no means no. Too much alcohol and the heat of the moment can lead to issues of consent. Don’t take advantage of situations that are alcohol-fuelled or the consequences could be arrest, a court appearance and a prison term.
There is safety in groups. Set up camp near friends, make friends with your neighbours and learn the layout of the site so you can find what you need – toilets/ stewards, etc., without getting lost. You can always ask staff for help with directions or anything else you may need.
Don’t bring large sums of cash, lots of credit/ debit cards, or lots of valuables with you. Only bring what you need and keep them on you, or in a locker, at all times. There are cash points on site so you can withdraw money as you need it.
If you can’t take your valuables with you when you leave your tent leave them at home. A tent offers little, if any, security and can easily be entered even if the entrance is padlocked.
Make use of the property Storage Tent onsite, open 24 hours, to store your valuables and possessions securely.
Place any property that would be attractive to thieves (cash, credit cards, mobile phones, cameras, etc.) inside a bag and tuck it into your sleeping bag when you go to sleep with larger items at your feet.
Make a note of card numbers, and the number to call if they are stolen or mislaid, and postcode mark the property you bring to Latitude so that it is identifiable.
If you arrive by car don’t leave anything in your vehicle, including satellite navigation systems/ CDs, cash etc. Take everything with you or leave it at home.
Be mindful of the activities of people around you when watching performances. Bags with shoulder straps should be worn across your chest, with the fastening towards your body. Rucksacks should be kept closed and not left unattended.
Keep mobile phones secure. It’s easy for a pickpocket to remove items such as these from a pocket or bag in a crowd without you noticing.
Use the lockers provided in the village.
You are asked to report any suspicious activity to security or stewards on site or, in an emergency, if you believe a crime is in progress, dial 999.
Police are also reminding motorists that there may be some delays on the A12 near Henham as thousands of festival goers flock to the site. While measures put in place on the site last year saw a dramatic reduction in the traffic delays experienced in previous years, particularly on the Thursday and Friday afternoon and evenings, there is still the possibility that traffic will be slow-moving along the A12, particularly between Yoxford and the site.
Police are advising drivers to leave extra time for your journey and if you can avoid the area please do so. If you’re heading to the site you may also wish to consider public transport options, as buses are laid on from local railway stations to the site.
For more information and advice visit www.suffolk.police.uk and follow us on Twitter @SuffolkPolice or join us on Facebook www.facebook.com/suffolkpolice for everything from road traffic updates to advice when you arrive.