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Suggested Glastonbury capacity reduction to combat illegal drug use

Featured image credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The UK’s flagship festival Glastonbury could be asked to reduce its capacity rates to help combat illegal drug use. 

Under its current license, Glastonbury uses a private company to make drug seizures, accept surrenders and test any substances found. However, organisers do not have to make the figures available to the police or the public.

According to the BBC, police and local councillors are now asking for the statistics to be released, which is a change in the festival’s current drug test policy.

If the festival is forced to review its license, the current drug policy and capacity of the festival could be subject to change, according to reports from MixMag. This is because organisers would have to adhere to a new management plan, which would see a reduction in the event’s capacity, an increased police presence and the release of information on drug seizures.

Local councillors on the Mendip District Council have agreed that there should be a review of the issue.

Pete Collins, drug expert lead at Avon and Somerset Constabulary, told the licensing board at Mendip District Council: “The festival use 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.”

Under the system that is currently in place, police will arrest those supplying or attempting to supply drugs and these figures are recorded within the official police statistics. However, drugs that are dropped into amnesty bins or seized by festival security staff are not included.

Councillor Simon Carswell also suggested that Glastonbury should release drug seizure figures as part of its licence, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Collins also said that having more security staff or selling fewer tickets to the festival would lead to more drugs being seized.

The board has agreed to discuss the licence at its next meeting in February.