Latitude Festival's public order banning legal highs not extended as no longer needed
An order which banned legal highs at Latitude Festival has been discharged after officials said it was no longer needed.
A PSPO - public space protection order - was introduced in 2016 and extended for a further three years in 2019 to tackle problems around legal highs.
The order allowed police to tackle a specific problem in a defined area by imposing conditions on use of the area, in this case distributing, possessing, consuming, selling or offering legal highs at Henham Park, near Southwold, during the Latitude weekend.
The order expires on July 17 this year, just a few days before this year's festival which starts on July 21, but it was recently agreed that it was no longer needed because there was 'little evidence of nitrous oxide use at the festival' and other powers were available.
Since 2016, just four fixed penalty notices were served over the issue. According to official festival figures, around 35,000 people attended last year, no fines were issued in 2021 and fewer than 10 nitrous oxide cannisters were found.
Cllr Mark Jepson, East Suffolk’s assistant cabinet member for community safety said: “The PSPO has had an impact. However, there are now more appropriate policing measures available, and as such, there is no longer a need for this order at this popular event.”
Earlier this year, partners including Suffolk's constabulary and fire service, the region's ambulance service, Latitude's promoters Festival Republic and East Suffolk council officers were consulted on the PSPO.
Whilst they said the PSPO did have some positive impact, it was decided there was 'insufficient' evidence to either extend or vary the order for this year's festival.
All partners agreed to recommend that the PSPO be discharged, and on June 7, East Suffolk Council's cabinet approved the discharge of the order.