POLICE Scotland today warned music fans, set to begin their annual pilgrimage to T in the Park, that the new national force is set to crackdown on drug taking at the Balado festival site.
And the force has also warned revellers that so called “legal highs” will also be banned from the festival site to prevent fans “gambling with their lives” at the star-studded event where T in the Park will be celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Around 85,000 music fans are expected to attend this year’s festival where the line-up includes Rihanna, The Killers, Mumford and Sons, The View, Deacon Blue, Travis, and Emeli Sande
Superintendent Rick Dunkerley, Event Commander for T in the Park, today called on all revellers to have fun - but keep themselves safe.
He said: “Our priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of our communities, including the community that gathers for the weekend at T in the Park. We want people to have fun and enjoy what is sure to be another excellent festival.
‘‘At the same time we want them to look after themselves, have respect for others and be mindful that what is against the law in Scotland is also against the law within any festival venue on Scotland.’’
He warned: “Drugs are illegal and Police Scotland adopts the same pro-active approach to the dealing and misuse of drugs across the country, no matter where it happens and no matter what the occasion or venue. Police Scotland will take action against drugs dealers and drugs misuse.
“ If you are caught with drugs you will not only have to deal with the legal consequences of your actions, you will also find that the money paid out for a concert or festival ticket was money wasted – and that’s often a very significant amount of cash.”
Supt Dunkerley continued: “Public warnings have been issued recently in relation to the dangers of taking ecstasy, or indeed tablets being passed off as ecstasy. They are illegal and they are potentially extremely dangerous. Likewise, legal highs are dangerous and are not permitted at T in the Park. Some of these substances do contain drugs that are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1970, which means charges can be brought.
“Anyone who takes legal - also known as herbal - highs has no idea of what they actually contain. They could have been mixed with drugs or other substances and their use becomes even more perilous when taken with alcohol or, indeed, other substances.
“Be it ecstasy, supposed ecstasy, or so-called legal highs – the reality is that anyone who takes them is gambling with their life.”
There will be drugs amnesty bins at the entrance to the campsites, where illegal substances can be disposed of without risk of exclusion or prosecution.
A force spokesman said: “Once inside the venue, drugs will not be tolerated and anyone caught dealing or carrying drugs will be arrested. Police Scotland’s specialist drugs dogs will also be operating at T in the Park.”
Supt Dunkerley said the organisers, the emergency services and the many agencies involved in the festival had “packed in a power of work” to deliver what will be another world class festival this weekend.
He continued: “It is a true team effort. Now in its 20th year, T in the Park is a landmark event that has been built on years of the experience, know-how and good-old fashioned hard work of everyone concerned. ‘‘Some of our officers and staff have been played a part at T in the Park since its early beginnings in Perth and Kinross.
“From a policing perspective events of this magnitude will bring their own set of challenges but it is a rewarding and enjoyable experience for those involved. “
Supt Dunkerley; added: “This is the first year that Police Scotland is responsible for the policing of the event and we welcome the input from officers and staff who are having their first T-experience. But it is fair to say that the majority of officers and staff are from Tayside Division (formerly Tayside Police) and our approach of local community style policing at the event continues.”
The event organisers and their partners, including Police Scotland, have also published a list of Top Ten Tips to T in the Park fans.
1. Before setting out on your journey, plan ahead and leave in plenty of time and check for traffic updates.
2. Remember to pack any medication you will need over the weekend, including prescriptions, inhalers and diabetic medicines. Plus, take heed of Scotland’s changeable weather and bring appropriate clothing and footwear and also sunscreen.
3. Refuel, Rehydrate and Relax – It’s a long weekend so remember to pace yourself and take some time out to eat and drink.
4. Drugs are illegal. Anyone caught in possession of illegal substances will be dealt with in the same way as anywhere else in the UK
5. Legal, or herbal highs are not permitted onsite at T in the Park. Selling these substances is prohibited and anyone found with these substances in their possession will have them immediately confiscated.
6. Look after the festival site and each other - please put rubbish in the bins provided, take your tent home and be a good neighbour.
7. Always report any incident no matter how big or small, to security or police, they are there to help.
8. Show respect to local residents when travelling to and from the event
9. Only bring essential items, and don’t leave anything of value in your tent. There are lockers within the campsite for you to hire to keep your belongings safe.
10. Keep your tickets and wristbands with you at all times.