Mass drug testing proposed - letter to V festival.

UKCIA contacted the organisers of V Festival itself for their opinion on the mass drug testing their customers will have to subject themselves to upon entry to their Staffordshire venue. Do they support these actions, or were they effectively forced into complying with these tests as many other Staffordshire venues reputedly have been? We were referred to their PR company, CakeMedia, for comment who can be emailed to at vfestival@cakemedia.com. This is UKCIA's email to them.

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Sir

VFestival mass drug testing

Would you like to make a statement regarding the announcement from Staffordshire police that they will be carrying out mass screening of people going to the VFestival for illegal drugs?

The story is being carried on the front page of http://www.ukcia.org - the website of the Legalise Cannabis campaign. For obvious reasons we intend to alert anyone going to your festival that they may be subjected to random screening in this way.

In particular, are you giving your support to the police in this matter, or have you raised objections with them?

We understand that the police in Essex - your other venue - are not going to carry out a similar exercise, not least of all because of concerns that it may violate the human rights act. Is this true?

I will only add that we regard this planned police action as being totally repugnant and it's fair to say that we intend to bring as much attention to it as we can. However, we will carry a statement from you in the interests of objectivity. Of course, we hope any such statement will distance your organisation from the planned action and also we hope to hear that you will not tolerate it.

I look forward to your reply.

After some chasing up of this email, CakeMedia eventually issued the following statement, in which it seems that Staffordshire Police have decided to not use this style of testing at the V Festival afterall - possibly a small victory for UKCIA!

V FESTIVAL STATEMENT: DRUGS TESTING AT THE V FESTIVAL 2003

"V Festival organisers work very closely with the Staffordshire police on site to ensure a safe and enjoyable event for all festival goers.

Staffordshire police has assured us there are no plans to carry out mass drugs screening of people attending the V Festival at Weston Park and their priority will be to pro-actively target criminals dealing in controlled substances.

Drug-testing equipment will be on site, but mainly to test substances taken from people who have been arrested".

We then wrote to Staffordshire Police asking them to confirm that these tests were indeed not taking place, and to explain why this decision was made - click here.