Thursday, 21 March 2024 - 11:59am

Visibility and good vibes

2 min read

News article photos (1 items)

A view from patrolling WOMAD in New Plymouth's Bowl of Brooklands and Brooklands Park.

Taranaki officers got to enjoy the smooth sounds of global beats on patrol at the annual WOMAD music festival in New Plymouth at the weekend. 

The popular festival was held at the Bowl of Brooklands and Brooklands Park over three days, from 15-17 March.

Every year local police plan an operation to ensure the safety of all festival-goers and this year was no different, with staff conducting high-visibility patrols on the beat and roads for the duration of the event.

Taranaki Acting Operations Manager Detective Sergeant Brad Pollock says there were three main stages operating, with five smaller stages as well as associated bars and food and retail outlets at the venue.

"The festival had a patronage of more than 30,000 people attending over the three days, peaking with a crowd of over 15,000 on the Saturday night," says Brad.

"A significant portion of those attending travelled to the Taranaki area for the event, which also had an extensive camping area housing approximately 5,000 people covering the adjacent Pukekura Racecourse area."

Taranaki officers including a Taranaki Public Safety Unit were deployed as part of the venue group to respond to calls for service and conduct prevention patrols, with other Police staff involved in road policing activities.

There was also significant planning put in place with venue organisers and security around a planned Free Palestine protest during Ziggy Marley's performance.

"Because of the excellent communication between Police and multiple parties, the 40-plus protesters were able to convey their message in a peaceful manner with very minimal disruption to the main act," says Brad.

"Ziggy and his team were very pleased with how the response to the protest activity was handled.

“It was important for us to ensure that everyone who attended during this time were able to have their rights to free speech upheld and were also safe."

Brad says our Community Patrol partners were also part of the operation, helping with patrolling in the camping area and surrounding environs.

"They did a fantastic job supporting us for this great community-orientated event," he says. 

"The crowd behaviour overall was amazing, with a positive, relaxed and friendly vibe - there was only a handful of isolated incidents but those actions were not a reflection on the vast majority of patrons.

"The event has been running for 20 years and the event organisers have expressed their thanks for Police attendance and I believe those who attended also enjoyed conversing with the staff involved."