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Wireless Festival could be forced to bring in ID scanners if it stays in Finsbury Park

PUBLISHED: 11:42 08 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:42 08 August 2018

The crowd at Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park yesterday. Picture: Matt Crossick/PA Wire.

The crowd at Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park yesterday. Picture: Matt Crossick/PA Wire.

PA Wire/PA Images

Wireless Festival could be forced to bring in ID scanners at future events if it is to stay in Finsbury Park.

The Friends of Finsbury Park group – which has seen its fight against the festival go all the way to the High Court – is now calling for Haringey Council to review the licence of promoter Live Nation.

The application has been backed by Hackney and Islington councils, which both made submissions ahead of the deadline last week.

Hackney’s crime chief Cllr Caroline Selman said the festival had been a “major nuisance” to neighbours and a “massive strain” on council services. For the last two years there have been issues with noise, drug dealing and use in residential streets and even human excrement being found on someone’s doorstep.

Cllr Selman asked her counterparts in Haringey to investigate whether ID scanners would be appropriate. She also asked if the 49,999 capacity was appropriate and whether the curfew should be earlier.

In an example of the issues encountered, Cllr Selman detailed how in 2017 Festival Republic, which runs the event, gave Hackney cash to employ its own stewards after concerns the previous year.

Cllr Selman said: “We requested funding for 66 SIA qualified stewards. Funding was instead provided for 14 (only six of which were SIA qualified). The justification was that due to revised arrangements, individuals would not be exiting on to Hackney roads.

“Unfortunately, the agreed arrangements were changed at the last minute, without adjustment to the arrangements for stewarding and barriers on our roads.

“Large numbers of individuals exited directly onto Seven Sisters Road, without adequate provision in place, resulting in large numbers exiting down Hackney side streets.”

Cllr Selman said though improvements were noted this year, there were still major issues with people urinating and defecating in streets, hundreds of laughing gas canisters being found and cleaners being abused.

Haringey will now decide whether to approve the review.

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