​Glastonbury could be asked to cut capacity amidst combat against illegal drug usage

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Glastonbury Festival could be asked to lower its capacity rates in a bid to combat illegal drug use at the annual event, as local councillors and police look to review its current license.

Currently, Glastonbury’s license allows the event to make drug seizures, accept surrenders and test any substances found onsite using a private company — without having to make figures available to the police or the public.

But, in an effort to tackle drug use at Glastonbury, police and local councillors are now asking for the stats to be released and for a change in the festival’s current drug testing policy, reports the BBC.

If the festival is subject to a license review, both its current drug policy and the current capacity of the festival could be subject to change — as it would be required to adhere to a new “management plan”. This could see reduction in capacity, an increased police presence and the release of information on the festival’s drug seizures.

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Each year, police arrest dozens of people on site for attempts to sell, or successful sales, of illegal drugs. Although those figures are recorded within police filings, further information on drug seizures by staff and in amnesty bins is not made public.

Speaking to the licensing board at Mendip District Council, a drug expert at Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Pete Collins, said: “The festival uses the services of a licensed private company to carry out what they call back-of-house testing there.”

“Believe it or not, but the seizure of drugs is not something that’s disclosed to us — the data is owned by the Glastonbury Festival,” he added.

During the meeting, Cllr Simon Carswell added that having more security on the festival site, or lowering the capacity by selling fewer tickets, could alleviate the issue and allow more drugs to be seized.

Another counsellor added that front-of-house drug testing and harm reduction areas could also ensure the safety of punters at the Worthy Farm event. The board will discuss further options at its next meeting in February.

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Avon and Somerset police, Glastonbury’s local constabulary, are reportedly part of a new joint operation to target “middle class drug users” taking substances such as MDMA, cocaine and cannabis.

According to The Times, five forces across the South West of England are set to “crackdown” on nightlife districts and other areas where drug taking has become “the norm” — in efforts, according to Conservative police and crime commissioners to stop the “glamorisation of Class A substances.”

Forces in the area have yet to comment on areas that will be targeted in the operation, or if a review of Glastonbury’s license is part of the crackdown.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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