Police Defend Strong Carnival Presence

PUBLISHED: 18:11 14 July 2008 | UPDATED: 21:31 31 May 2010

Chief Inspector Joe Wrigley

Chief Inspector Joe Wrigley

A POLICE chief has defended the extra precautions that were taken at a carnival club night which left party-goers queuing in the rain for more than an hour. District commander for Uttlesford, Chf Insp Joe Wrigley, rejected criticism that there was an e

A POLICE chief has defended the extra precautions that were taken at a carnival club night which left party-goers queuing in the rain for more than an hour.

District commander for Uttlesford, Chf Insp Joe Wrigley, rejected criticism that there was an excessive number of officers on duty at the Saffron Walden Carnival event on Friday night.

"In the current climate of public concern over the use of knives we collectively decided to err on the side of safety," said Chf Insp Wrigley.

"I know in some people's eyes this may have seemed overkill but it makes a change to hear that police were too visible and there were too many of us - I am sure if there was a stabbing at the event there would have been a different point of view."

More than 800 clubbers flocked to Saffron Walden Common to attend the carnival's club night which featured top DJs, Judge Jules and Matt Hardwick.

Mounted police and dog teams, as well as officers operating a metal detector to search people for knives ensured that trouble was kept to a minimum.

Carnival chairman Eamon McCourt described the thorough policing that led to a lengthy queuing time as a "necessary evil".

"Despite the number of police checks that the young people had to go through to get into the venue, I think they did themselves a great credit," said Mr McCourt. "It was a cold and wet night, but in the end it was well worth it. There was a brilliant atmosphere and no trouble."

Two arrests were made during the carnival's club night: a Saffron Walden man who was drunk and disorderly and a 31-year-old man from Cambridge who was arrested for a public order offence.

Figures for the whole carnival week were low with a total of 11 people arrested at all of the events. Arrests included one local woman for possession of Class A drugs and a 43-year-old Saffron Walden man for assaulting a security officer. Both incidents occurred at the Blues Brother night on Thursday.

"The primary objective was the safety of those attending the events and I am thrilled to say that I do not believe anyone was injured at any of the events by the criminal act of another person," said Chf Insp Wrigley.

"A carefully planned and well considered policing operation was executed in response to this very challenging series of licensed celebrations and I would personally like to thank the vast majority of people for making the whole week a resounding success for the town - with very few exceptions they behaved impeccably and appeared to enjoy themselves immensely.

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