Organisers say Womad will go on, with or without police
11:10am Friday 13th July 2012 in Music
PRICES charged by the police are at the centre of a clash with the organisers of Womad.
The future of the annual event, which attracts crowds of around 30,000, was hanging in the balance last month after Wiltshire Police challenged the Malmesbury event’s licensing agreement.
Festival organisers hit problems when their proposal to take on fewer officers for the family-friendly festival was rejected by police.
Negotiations are ongoing but organisers have now said the show, which runs from July 26 to 29, will go on – with or without the police.
Last year, Womad had 24-hour police cover by 29 officers over the four day event. Womad director Chris Smith said he could afford four trained security guards for the same price the police were charging for one officer.
He said he would prefer some police presence at the festival, but last year’s level of cover was not necessary given the low amount of crime.
“Our suggestion was three officers on site would suffice,” he said. “There were 30 reported crimes last year and £120 worth of drugs recovered – we’re not a hotbed of crime.”
Despite negotiations, a decision has still not been reached on an acceptable level of policing.
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “We have been in meetings with Womad and we continue to exchange information with them in an effort to reach a resolution.”