Street festivals 'threatened' by new police policy as Kingston carnival races to find extra £4,000 to pay for security (From Surrey Comet)
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Street festivals 'threatened' by new police policy as Kingston carnival races to find extra £4,000 to pay for security
The Kingston Carnival and other festivals and comunity events could be threatened by police cuts, organisers have said.
For the first time in 14 years the Kingston Carnival has been told police will not supervise the closing of roads on September 7 in Kingston town centre.
Policing guidelines slowly being put into practice say community and charitable events in need of policing should pay “a reasonable contribution towards police costs”.
Carnival organisers Kingston Race and Equalities Council (Krec) will have to find £4,000 to pay for at least 40 extra security people.
The Malden Fortnight and Kingston scouts say they may have to cancel.
Last year Surbiton Festival organisers were only assigned one police officer and told they would have to pay if they wanted more.
John Azah, Krec director, said: “It is off the back of the cuts.
"What they have done effectively is say ‘You should get your own security to police the event that you have organised’.
"They are going to police it in a different way than they have in the past.
“I don’t have the capacity to be investing in outside security. Why should we pay?"
Scouts in Kingston have been walking through Tolworth for their annual St George’s Day Street parade for more than 50 years.
Trevor Strong, chairman of Kingston district scouts, said he may have to cancel.
He said: “It is going to be dangerous if they are not there. “We have also been told we have to pay out for traffic management orders for nay roads we need closed – that’s £1,000 a road.
“We are only a charity – we can’t afford it. The police are forcing us to cancel. It is not good for the community.”
Tony Gooding, from the Malden Fortnight committee, said: “There is a restriction in manpower to do with cost- cutting. We are seriously worried about the lack of police availability.”
Kingston police Chief Inspector Richard Dean said local policing teams would continue to attend events and work closely with organisers of larger events like the Kingston Carnival to help them run a safe event.
He added: “Where necessary we will then deploy an appropriate policing response to support a particular event on the day.”
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