Po­lice probe dance fes­ti­val rape claims

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page - BY OLIVER CLAY oliver.clay@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @oliv­er­clayRWWN

TWO al­le­ga­tions of rape were re­ported to po­lice at this year’s Cream­fields fes­ti­val. Data re­leased un­der the Free­dom Of In­for­ma­tion Act (FOI) showed the in­ci­dents were said to have taken place on Satur­day, Septem­ber 26.

In each al­leged in­ci­dent the vic­tim was fe­male.

Of­fi­cers also re­ceived a re­port of a sex­ual as­sault on Fri­day, Septem­ber 25.

The crime re­ports were re­vealed as Cheshire po­lice pub­lished data re­lat­ing to a re­quest for de­tails of vi­o­lent and sex­ual of­fences al­leged to have taken place at the four-day dance mu­sic fes­ti­val.

There were 12 of­fences of vi­o­lence, two of which were as­saults with­out in­jury on po­lice con­sta­bles – in both cases in­volv­ing rev­ellers spit­ting at the of­fi­cer.

Two other as­saults with­out in­jury were recorded, one in which the vic­tim re­ceived a blow to the back of the head after an ar­gu­ment with an un­known male and the other in­volv­ing a punch to a fes­ti­val-goer’s face caus­ing slight red­den­ing.

Eight of­fences of as­sault with in­jury were recorded, most in­volv­ing a punch to the face and in­juries such as to the nose, nose and eye or pain in the cheek.

One at­tack, which at­tracted na­tional press cov­er­age, re­sulted in a lac­er­ated cheek.

An­other as­sault took place when a rev­eller threw a camp­ing chair at some­one.

A spokes­woman for Cheshire po­lice’s data team said de­tails of where the in­ves­ti­ga­tions are up to can­not be pub­lished to re­duce the risk of send­ing per­pe­tra­tors to ground.

In re­sponse to a sep­a­rate FOI re­quest, North West Am­bu­lance Ser­vice (NWAS) re­vealed that it had re­ceived 999 calls to the site nine times dur­ing the four days of rev­elry.

How­ever, an NWAS spokes­woman said these would not in­clude emer­gen­cies dealt with on site by the pri­vate fes­ti­val med­i­cal team.

In four of the calls the am­bu­lance was called off after not be­ing re­quired – for two seizures, for an aban­doned call and one ‘null’ event mean­ing the call did not last long enough to es­tab­lish what was sup­posed to have hap­pened.

Two trips to hospi­tal were re­quired, one for some­one who had fallen un­con­scious or fainted and an­other where in which paramedics had re­sponded to the in­ci­dent while pass­ing by, al­though no de­tails were pro­vided.

The other three at­ten­dances at the fes­ti­val were for some­one fall­ing un­con­scious or faint­ing, one overdose and one per­son suf­fer­ing ab­dom­i­nal pains or prob­lems.

Cream­fields is a ma­jor fes­ti­val and this year was at­tended by 70,000 rev­ellers over four days.

By com­par­i­son, and as­sum­ing that crime re­port­ing rates were the same, the rate of as­saults ap­pears to be lower than for Hal­ton as a whole, where the event took place.

Ac­cord­ing to lat­est recorded crime fig­ures, ● for the 12 months to July 2017, there were 2,873 as­saults with and with­out in­jury in Hal­ton, which works out as just un­der eight per day, or 31.5 over four days.

Hal­ton’s rate of as­saults for a pop­u­la­tion the size of Cream­fields would be 17.4 over the four days, greater than the 12 recorded at Cream­fields.

Dur­ing the same pe­riod there were 221 sex­ual of­fences, which would work out as about 1.3 in­ci­dents, lower than the three re­ported at the fes­ti­val over four days.

Cheshire po­lice de­clared at the end of the Cream­fields 2017 fes­ti­val that the polic­ing op­er­a­tion had been a ‘huge suc­cess’ with 153 ar­rests: 131 for drug sup­ply, and oth­ers in­clud­ing for weapon pos­ses­sion, vi­o­lence and crim­i­nals wanted for other of­fences be­ing dis­cov­ered.

Two al­leged rapes were re­ported at this year’s Cream­fields

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