South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway festival policing cost talks 'constructive'

Eden Festival
Image caption A "very robust discussion" about policing costs at festivals has been held

A south of Scotland MSP has said talks over the impact of rising policing costs on music festivals in Dumfries and Galloway proved constructive.

Colin Smyth said there had been a "very robust discussion" between police, organisers and the council.

He said it was clear charging policies had changed since the introduction of a national police force.

However, he said it was "encouraging" the importance of the music festivals had been recognised.

"There was a commitment by everyone to work together to find a way forward," he said.

"The police will meet event organisers at as early a stage in the planning process as possible for next year's events to thrash out a policing plan.

"That could allow organisers for example to tweak stewarding plans with advice from the police to possibly minimise police costs, so from that point of view the meeting was constructive."

Ch Supt Gary Ritchie also said he felt the talks had been worthwhile.

"I'm pleased that event organisers acknowledge and accept that the policing necessary to ensure public safety at events cannot be provided to the detriment of policing our local communities," he said.

"I look forward to positive and constructive partnerships with event organisers for the forthcoming year which I'm sure will enhance the region's reputation for hosting attractive, exciting and, above all, safe events."

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