Mass drug testing proposed

Response from Essex Police regarding mass drug testing at V2003

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According to an article from the Essex Chronicle, the Essex police are not intending to use this new laptop mass-screening technology at the venue for V2003 in Chelmsford. According to the article this was due to them wishing to target dealers, not users and they "believe there might be an issue of human rights".

We asked them to elaborate on their concerns to give us more information on these tests - over the course of two mails, they replied as opposite.

 

In essence, Essex Police target drug dealers. Those who indulge in possession will be dealt with and prosecuted accordingly, but we feel that our resources should be focused on the source of the crime. We prefer the V2 festival to be a crime-free event, but are realistic and know this will never be the case. However, our other priority is that everyone enjoys the weekend in a safe environment which includes tackling other forms of crime and their associated criminals.

We have found that the festivals have been run relatively successfully in previous years and cannot foresee any difference to this year's weekend. As a result, we shall continue policing and resourcing the event as normal.

Sgt White was expressing reservations about the strategy and methods used by Staffordshire Police without criticising them for using innovative methods in order to rid their venue of drug users.

As with many issues these day, human rights legislation does figure in one way or another. Sgt White was purely concerned as to whether Staff Police had made the necessary checks. There may well be no HR issues to deal with. We applaud them for taking a similarly tough stance on such criminals.

However, I will repeat out stance that we here at Essex have taken and will continue to do so until we feel our methods are failing.We want our two-day festival to be enjoyed by everyone in a safe environment. The policing methods we use have been successful in deterring criminal elements and drug users from plying their 'trade' at Chelmsford's Hylands Park. We, personally, can see no reason to change our stance and
ways in which we deal with such people who are intent on ruining it for others. The organisers, revellers and other interested parties have had no qualms with the way we police it, we ourselves can see no operational need to change, what is essentially, an effective way in dealing with drug dealers and users.