Big Green Gathering - disclosure of correspondence and telephone calls

Steve Woods made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Avon and Somerset Constabulary

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Following the cancellation at short notice of this year's Big Green Gathering, I would be grateful for disclosure of all of Avon & Somerset Constabulary's correspondence (letters and emails) - both internal and external - and telephone calls - likewise both internal and external - in relation to the above event.

Yours faithfully,

Steve Woods

#Freedom of Information Requests, Avon and Somerset Constabulary

1 Atodiad

Corporate Information Management Department

Force Headquarters, PO Box 37, Valley Road,

Portishead, Bristol, BS20 8QJ

Facsimile 01275 814667

Private
Mr S Woods
Steve Woods [[FOI #15383 email]]
Our Reference 09/455
Your reference
Date 30 July 2009
Dear Mr Woods

Thank you for your request for information dated 29^th July, relating to
The Big Green Gathering 2009. This request will be dealt with under the
terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your request will now be considered and you will receive a response within
the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act, subject
to the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third
party. In some circumstances Avon and Somerset Constabulary may be unable
to achieve this deadline. If this is likely you will be informed and given
a revised time-scale at the earliest opportunity.

There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of
the information you request. If this is the case you will be informed and
the 20 working day timescale will be suspended until we receive payment
from you. If you choose not to make a payment then your request will
remain unanswered.

Some requests may also require either full or partial transference to
another public authority in order to answer your query in the fullest
possible way. Again, you will be informed if this is the case.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in
Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Officer

Freedom of Information Officer
Corporate Information Management Department

Please note;

1. Requests and responses may be published on Avon and Somerset
Constabulary’s website (within 24 hours), some of which may
contain a link to additional information, which may provide
you with further clarification.
2. Whilst we may verbally discuss your request with you in order
to seek clarification, all other communication should be made
in writing.
3. Avon and Somerset Constabulary provides you with the right to
request a re-examination of your case under its review
procedure (copy enclosed).

<<A&S Appeals Procedure - E-Mail.doc>>

#Freedom of Information Requests, Avon and Somerset Constabulary

1 Atodiad

Avon and Somerset Constabulary HQ

Force Headquarters, PO Box 37, Valley Road,

Portishead, Bristol, BS20 8QJ

Telephone: 01275 816008/6006 Facsimile: 01275 814667

Office Hours 8.00 am - 6.00 pm

Private

Our Reference RB/jme
Your reference
Date 20 August 2009

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to let you know that we have received your request for
information under the Freedom of Information Act and are dealing with it
accordingly.

This issue has attracted significant media and internet coverage, but many
reports have included misleading information. I am therefore writing to
explain our position.

The BGG wasn't `closed down' by the police or any other authority; the BGG
directors voluntarily surrendered their event licence on July 26. Had they
not done so, Mendip District Council would have applied for an injunction.
The police would have supported this application; purely out of concern
for public safety.

For many months leading up to the event we assisted the organisers well
beyond what is normally required of a "responsible authority" and clearly
demonstrated that we welcomed the BGG event providing the Event Management
Plan met licensing objectives. Our support was evident from the start;
Mendip District Council has a published policy asking organisers to submit
applications for events at least six months in advance of the intended
start date; that did not happen. Nevertheless we dedicated a team of three
staff to work with BGG organisers on their Event Management Plan.

Ultimately, our key concerns included:

o The engagement and guaranteed attendance of an appropriate
security company to provide adequate event and site security - not only to
prevent crime but to reduce the risk of people without tickets getting to
the site, which could create crowd control and safety issues particularly
in the event of an emergency.

o Issues around arrangements for road closure orders and signs.

o Fire safety considerations.

We made repeated attempts to work with organisers to resolve these issues.

Contrary to some reports and the experience of many festival attendees,
crime has occurred at previous BGG events. In 2007 there were 60 victims
of crime. Mendip District Council's Licensing Sub-Committee ultimately
determined the required policing levels, however through negotiation and
amendments to the Event Management Plan we agreed a reduction in the level
of policing required.

The costs of policing such an event are chargeable to organisers, in line
with national ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) guidelines.
Despite previous delays in payment for our services, we agreed that we
would only require half of the costs in advance of the event. We did this
as we understood that the revenue from tickets would not be available
until after the event. This again demonstrated our willingness to be
flexible and accommodating thereby creating greater chance of the event
taking place.

Despite several meetings and phone conversations, several issues continued
to cause us concern, and I understand that Mendip District Council took a
decision to proceed with an injunction application on the evening of July
24, although there was still an opportunity for BGG organisers to satisfy
the licence requirements and proceed with the event.

I took the decision that, if the issues of concern remained unresolved, we
would support the council in seeking an injunction. It was not a decision
I took lightly. I appreciated that many people who had planned to attend
would be disappointed and angry. Avon and Somerset Constabulary is proud
of the work we have undertaken for many years with organisers to
facilitate a number of events and festivals locally. We value the
diversity this brings to our region, however both the police and the
council would be failing in our duty if we supported an event where we
felt adequate arrangements to protect public safety were not in place.

Throughout this period we have tried to maintain a positive working
relationship with members of the Big Green Gathering board of directors. I
hope that we can work together to produce Event Management Plans which
satisfy licence requirements so that people can enjoy future events in a
safe environment.

Yours faithfully

[1]Picture (Metafile)

Rob Beckley
Deputy Chief Constable

References

Visible links

Dear #Freedom of Information Requests,

Thank you for your response to my FoI request.

However, your response seems to have ignored the content of my request and looks like it has been written by Avon & Somerset Constabulary's Press Office.

I would therefore be grateful if you would comply with my original request, i.e. disclosure of all of Avon &
Somerset Constabulary's correspondence (letters and emails) - both internal and external - and telephone calls - likewise both internal and external - in relation to the 2009 Big Green Gathering.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Woods

#Freedom of Information Requests, Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Dear Mr Woods

With reference to your enquiry below, the email was an update in
relation to Avon and Somerset Constabulary's position regarding to the
Big Green Gathering. As you have requested information under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 concerning the same topic, I felt that you may
be interested to receive a copy of this letter in advance of receiving a
response to your original request.

As stated in this correspondence, Mr Beckley acknowledges that you have
requested information and that the force are currently dealing with it
in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act Legislation.

Therefore, further correspondence will be made with you in relation to
your original request for information in due course.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear #Freedom of Information Requests,

Thank you for your clarification - much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Woods

#Freedom of Information Requests, Avon and Somerset Constabulary

2 Atodiad

Corporate Information Management Department

Force Headquarters, PO Box 37, Valley Road,

Portishead, Bristol, BS20 8QJ

Facsimile 01275 814667

Private

Mr S Woods
[FOI #15383 email]
Our Reference 09/455
Your reference
Date 27 August 2009

Dear Mr Woods

I write in connection with your request for information dated 29th July
concerning the Big Green Gathering.

You have requested copies of all information Avon and Somerset
Constabulary hold in relation to the festival. Unfortunately the
information requested is only held in hard copy format and therefore there
are some costs involved in supplying you with any relevant documentation.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary estimate that we would be able to answer
your request within the fees regulation set under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. However in relation to your request, as the
information is only held in Hardcopy format a disbursement needs to be
paid in line with the legislation for photocopying fees and postal fees.
Please find below an outline of these estimated costs;

1500 pages @ 10p per page - £150

Postage - £15

If you are happy to proceed in this way, could you please confirm this in
writing and we will provide you with an invoice for the work to be carried
out.

We are able to provide you with an alternative to the fees above and this
is to view the documents. The viewing would take place at Avon and
Somerset Constabulary's Headquarters in Portishead, however you will not
be permitted to make any notes or photocopy the documents at the point of
viewing, if you indicate the documents you would like they will
subsequently be provided to you with any redactions being carried out. You
would still be charged 10p per page for photocopying.

At this time, Avon and Somerset Constabulary are able to provide you with
crime statistics for the last two Big Green Gatherings, confirmation of
whether any road traffic collisions have been associated with the 2007
event and a copy of the minutes taken at a meeting with the Big Green
Gathering organisers and Mendip District Council, which you may find
useful;

The number of crimes that were reported to the police at Big Green
Gathering in 2007 and 2006

A total of 60 crimes were reported to police at the Big Green Gathering
2007.

A total of 33 crimes were reported to police at the Big Green Gathering
2006.

How many accidents were connected/associated with the Big Green Gathering
2007?

We are able to confirm that there were no Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs)
connected with this event.

Copies of minutes of meetings held with Mendip District Council and/or the
Big Green Gathering organisers in relation to the 2009 event.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary have had five meetings since November 2008
with the Big Green Gathering Organisers and Mendip District Council.
However, the force only holds minutes in relation to the initial meeting
in November 2008, which have been provided with this letter. Please find
below an outline of the other meetings which were held and which
organisation may hold any relevant minutes:

17^th November 2008 - Minutes provided in attachment below.

8^th June 2009 - Big Green Gathering Organisers held the meeting and may
have taken minutes.

22^nd July 2009 - Mendip District Council held the meeting and may have
taken minutes.

23^rd July 2009 - No minutes were taken, the meeting took place at
Fernhill Farm.

26^th July 2009 - No minutes taken, the Big Green Gathering organisers
surrendered their licence.

You may wish to contact Mendip District Council and the Big Green
Gathering organisers directly to ascertain, what minutes if any they hold,
please find below a link to their Freedom of Information Act page (MDC)
and contact page (BGG), plus their postal addresses:

[1]http://www.mendip.gov.uk/CouncilService....

Customer Services
Mendip District Council
Cannards Grave Road
Shepton Mallet
BA4 5BT

[2]http://www.big-green-gathering.com/index...

The Big Green Gathering Co Ltd  
P.O. Box 3423
Glastonbury
BA6 9ZN

<<BGG.tif>>

I apologise that this may not be the response that you were hoping for,
however would be grateful if you could confirm which of the above options
you would prefer us to investigate further. If you chose not to respond
then your request will remain unanswered.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer

Freedom of Information Officer
Corporate Information Management Department

Please note:

1. Requests and responses may be published on Avon and Somerset
Constabulary's website (within 24 hours), some of which may
contain a link to additional information, which may provide
you with further clarification.
2. Whilst we may verbally discuss your request with you in order
to seek clarification, all other communication should be made
in writing.
3. Avon and Somerset Constabulary provides you with the right to
request a re-examination of your case under its review
procedure (copy enclosed).

<<A&S Appeals Procedure - E-Mail.doc>>

References

Visible links
1. http://www.mendip.gov.uk/CouncilService....
2. http://www.big-green-gathering.com/index...

#Freedom of Information Requests, Avon and Somerset Constabulary

1 Atodiad

Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Corporate Information Management Department

Force Headquarters, PO Box 37, Valley Road,

Portishead, Bristol, BS20 8QJ

Facsimile 01275 814667

Private
Steve Woods
[FOI #15383 email] Our Reference 09/455
Your reference
Date 28 October 2009

Dear Mr Woods

Further to our letter dated 27th August 2009, in response to your request
for all information held regarding the Big Green Gathering, several months
have now passed and to date we have not received a response from you.

As you have not responded it has been assumed that you do not wish to
progress with the option of obtaining the information available for the
cost specified. Therefore, please consider this letter as confirmation
that your case is now closed.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Officer

Freedom of Information Officer
Corporate Information Management Department

Please note;

1. Requests and responses may be published on Avon and Somerset
Constabulary's website (within 24 hours), some of which may
contain a link to additional information, which may provide
you with further clarification.
2. Whilst we may verbally discuss your request with you in order
to seek clarification, all other communication should be made
in writing.
3. Avon and Somerset Constabulary provides you with the right to
request a re-examination of your case under its review
procedure (copy attached).

<<A&S Appeals Procedure - E-Mail.doc>>