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Celebrate Safely During The Festive Season – By Rob Nixon Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police

Our city and counties are special places as we move into the winter. Our streets and towns come alive with fairs, festivals and celebrations, often spectacularly linked to the faiths, heritage and traditions of our diverse communities.

At Leicestershire Police, we are delighted to receive many invitations but our main focus is always people’s safety.

As wonderful as it is to celebrate Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland there is often a hidden demand on policing to manage these events and we work closely with organisers to ensure the right policing is in place. But as I am dealing with competing strategic priorities I do want people to understand the pressures that police face, including the demand they don’t always see.

Picture: Leicestershire Police

Throughout the year the force provides a supporting role to major events. This ranges from rural shows and religious festivals, to sporting fixtures and Download – one of the largest open-

air festivals in the country at Castle Donington. The city even welcomed 40,000 people to Leicester this September for a BBC Radio 2 event in Victoria Park. This type of event take a vast amount of planning and resource to ensure that we can support the road network in and around Victoria Park and ensure people stay safe.

Usually the security of the event itself is not a police matter, but planning, preparation and support for large crowds and their safety is a matter for us – and it is an ask on top of the service we give day and night to prevent and detect crime.

In recent months we have seen an increase of demand into the call centre which is another hidden demand we are dealing with. In September, we received approx 2000 calls into our call centre in a single day and all of those calls have to be deal with effectively.

We are looking at ways to improve our efficiency through things like on line meetings with officers but this level of demand on policing continues to be a challenge. We want more people to report crime, where appropriate, through our on line facility but we are also looking at how and where we process these calls, ensuring that we follow lines of enquiry but also improve efficiency to build the public’s confidence in policing.

All I ask is that the public continue to celebrate safely and we are always grateful for the support of our communities and partners.

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