Multi-agency partners promote safe festival

Multi-agency press release 

Following two successful large-scale music festivals in the Highlands, multi-agency partners are once again seeking to ensure another safe event at Groove 2015, which is to be held near the shores of Loch Ness at Dores. 

Multi-agency partners consisting of Police Scotland, British Red Cross, Highland Council, Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, NHS Highland, Scottish Ambulance Service and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are seeking a safe and enjoyable event for those who are attending and working at the festival. 

The gates open to the event at 12pm on Saturday 22nd August, with camping on site until Sunday 23rd August. The festival is expected to attract around 5,000 people. 

Police Scotland Event Commander, Chief Inspector Colin Gough said: "Once again, we will be employing our tried and tested community policing approach to local Summer Musical Festivals, with the focus of keeping people safe. To prevent disorder and antisocial or criminal behaviour we will be working alongside stewards to ensure there is no compromise to public safety. 

Keep Safe Festival advice is available on the Police Scotland website and will be displayed around the Groove site and provides practical information on personal safety: 

- Personal safety: stay with friends and family; stay in busy areas; stay alert. 

- Protecting valuables: guard against pickpockets; stay alert and only take items you will need.

- Anti-social behaviour: do not carry weapons; do not carry flares or any other form of pyrotechnic; respect local communities and residents. 

- At the festival: ensure you have your ticket/wristband; follow the directions of police and stewards; know where your pick up and drop off points are; know which zone your tent is in. 

- Travel safety: plan in advance; leave enough time for your journey; ensure you're not under the influence of alcohol from the night before. 

- Contact the police: In an emergency dial 999; dial 101 for non-emergency matters; report anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

Chief Inspector Gough concluded: "Our Community Safety officers will be available, from 12pm to 8pm, within the ‘Safer Communities’ tent which will be situated with the [location to be confirmed]. These officers will not only be able to offer advice and support in respect of stay safe/crime prevention issues but will also have a laptop linked to the “’ website which is a national website used to trace lost or stolen mobile phones. Revellers will be able to add their phone details to this database, for free; vastly increasing their chances of a speedy return should their phone go missing. 

“By following our Keep Safe Festival advice it will help to make Groove an enjoyable, memorable and safe experience for everyone and we all have a part to play in making sure this happens." 

Debbie Stewart, Coordinator for Highland Alcohol & Drugs Partnership said: “Our message to everyone attending this year’s local festivals is: we hope you have a great time, enjoy the music and soak up the atmosphere. 

“We urge you to eat well, drink plenty of water and stay safe. The best way to stay safe is to drink sensibly. You can pace yourself by drinking slowly, avoid mixing drinks, switch between alcohol and soft drinks or shift to a lower strength of alcohol. 

“Don’t take unnecessary risks. Our advice is to avoid taking drugs. Substances like ecstasy and cocaine can cause dehydration and overheating, especially when mixed with alcohol and taken whilst dancing in warm temperatures. 

“Also, just because a substance claims to be legal, it doesn’t mean it is, and it doesn’t mean it is safe. Many so called legal highs contain illegal substances and research chemicals that haven’t been properly tested. 

“If someone is unable to avoid taking drugs or drink sensibly, then 1) make sure you know what you are taking, 2) be aware of the amount you are taking and 3) be aware of the risk of becoming ill or overdosing particularly from taking drugs and alcohol together. 

“Keep an eye on your friends. If you do notice someone becoming ill, get help straight away. 

Elspeth Lee, NHS Highland Health Improvement Specialist, said: "Remember to take a supply of condoms with you, even if you think you're not likely to need them. Things can change a lot over the course of a weekend. It may be quite difficult to get condoms once you're there. Condoms can protect women from getting pregnant and can protect everyone from getting Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). 

"It is especially important during the warm summer months for festival goers to enjoy the sun safely. Avoid getting burnt by the sun by covering up or staying in the shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest.

"Use sun screen to help prevent getting burnt, using at least a factor 15 and remember to re-apply regularly. Take extra care with children as their skin is delicate and keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water." 

Anne Eadie, Events First Aid Services Manager with British Red Cross said: "At Groove 2015, we want everyone who attends the Festival to have a safe, enjoyable and memorable time. The British Red Cross works very closely with its partners to ensure all festival goers are as safe as possible. 

"This summer has not been at all seasonal and those attending should check out the weather forecast before making their way to the site. Bring appropriate clothing and dress for the occasion (remember sun cream, wellies and waterproofs!!). 

Remember to stay hydrated and to bring any personal medication with you. Keep an eye on your friends and make sure they do the same for you. If in any doubt, seek help from any of the first aiders about the site.”

Iain Mackay Resilience Adviser at the Scottish Ambulance Service said: "Anyone taking medication should let their friends know what it is and make sure that they bring enough with them to the festival. Everyone should keep hydrated, whether or not it's sunny and bring clothing for all conditions."

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager John MacDonald hopes that everyone enjoys the Groove 2015 Music Festival safely.

He said: “Scottish Fire and Rescue Service would like people to enjoy themselves and remember the festival for all the right reasons. 

“We would urge people to enjoy the stunning scenery but always bear safety in mind. Tents can be ‘gone in 60 seconds’ and are particularly susceptible to fire so it’s crucial that you don’t pitch them too close together. If there is a fire then this will stop it spreading from one tent to another. 

“We would also encourage people not to smoke inside tents and use torches instead of candles as they are much safer. If you are using BBQs then never use inside or near the entrances to tents as they can give off poisonous carbon monoxide fumes which can be fatal. And those using camping gas canisters are encouraged to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and don’t use inside tents. It is also crucial that people never cook whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” 

David Haas, Highland Council's Inverness City Area Manager said: "Highland Council is pleased to work again with our multi-agency planning partners and the Groove event organisers to help deliver a successful festival for all to enjoy in a safe and friendly environment. The Council welcomes the positive profile and significant benefits to the City of Inverness and the wider Highlands that the event brings to the region."

20 Aug 2015
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