Advice to people attending Latitude this coming weekend

Latitude takes place this week with the police working closely with the festival organisers to ensure everyone goes home with great memories.

The music and arts festival takes place between Thursday and Sunday, July 21 and 24 with police reminding festival-goers of crime prevention tips such as being careful with their possessions.

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.

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 and have not made plans for their security. Other thefts have occurred while festivalgoers had their attention diverted while they were watching performances.

With this in mind, police are asking visitors to think about security before they head to the site and to consider a few simple pieces of advice that should help to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable time.

  • Follow the advice of stewards and security personnel on the site;
  • Stick with your friends and look out for each other;
  • With warm weather likely, moderate your alcohol consumption. 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;
  • 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. The festival will be mainly cashless with bars and merchandise cashless, but some vendors will still need cash payments, so the advice is don’t take too much cash with you;
  • 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;
  • 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; and
  • 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.

Report any suspicious activity to security or stewards on site or, in an emergency, if you believe a crime is in progress, dial 999.

In an addition to this year’s policing the force will be using officers with additional training to look for subtle signs of any criminal intent or planning. This approach has been used across the UK as part of Operation Servator. These highly visible officers will form part of the wider policing operation.

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. Traffic is likely to be slow-moving along the A12, particularly between Yoxford and the site.

Police are advising drivers to leave extra time for their journey and if possible avoid the area.

Anyone heading to the site may also wish to consider public transport options, as buses are laid on from local railway stations to the site. If you are the victim of a crime remember, you can always report it online using the online reporting service rather than phoning 101. If a crime is in progress, you should still phone 999.

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