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Police and crime commissioner meets with councillors, officers and organisers of Light and Life festival at Rutland Showground in Oakham amid safety fears




Rutland's police and crime commissioner has paid a rapid visit to Oakham following days of chaos.

It is estimated that about 1,600 travellers arrived at the Rutland Showground at the weekend for a Pentecostal event called the festival of "Light and Life".

The event, a legally authorised festival which attracted a far greater attendance than expected by organisers, prompted many complaints from people who live and work in Rutland.

Rupert Matthews, Leicestershire's police and crime commissioner, with Rutland County councillors and the mayor of Oakham
Rupert Matthews, Leicestershire's police and crime commissioner, with Rutland County councillors and the mayor of Oakham

Following an early morning briefing from senior officers at Leicestershire Police, the police and crime commisioner, Rupert Matthews, arranged a series of meetings with community leaders, the showground management and the police on the ground in the area.

"It was clear to me that local residents were very concerned," said Mr Matthews.

"I didn't want to read what they felt in the news, I was determined to hear and see matters for myself. With reports of speeding vehicles, anti-social behaviour, theft and shoplifting I fully understand their anxiety.

Rupert Matthews, Leicestershire's police and crime commissioner with Sgt Paul Kear and MP Alicia Kearns
Rupert Matthews, Leicestershire's police and crime commissioner with Sgt Paul Kear and MP Alicia Kearns

"Today (June 20) I have met the local MP Alicia Kearns, the leader of the county council Oliver Hemsley, the mayor of Oakham Zoe Nealson and members of the Town Council as well as the Showground management when I paid a visit to the Showground itself.

"I also visited the main trouble-spots and spoke to local residents and businesses and heard from the police what measures were in place to deter any further problems.

"It's fair to say that the Light and Life event attracted many more people than any of the organisers anticipated, otherwise the police would have been informed before the event began.

"I have to say I am impressed by the force's response, it was top class. Several arrests have been made and no further crimes had been reported on Monday.

"With specialist officers in position, supported by local beat officers and a host of technology, I would hope that local people are reassured by the continued heightened police presence. I certainly am."

Extra covid precautions have been put in place for the remained of the festival and residents continue to be urged to report any incident by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency.

"The incidents over the weekend were naturally upsetting for the residents in the area and I am pleased that many of them felt they could and should contact me directly," he said.

"However, I hope they feel that we have all responded swiftly and appropriately.

"This type of behaviour is just not acceptable and never will be while I am Police and Crime Commissioner."



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