Riots will not stop Pride says Brighton and Hove police chief

Posted On 11 Aug 2011 at 3:56 am

Riots in London and the cancellation of some football matches will not stop Pride from going ahead, Sussex Police said last night (Wednesday 10 August).

It will be “business as usual” in Brighton and Hove this weekend, according to the city’s police commander Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett.

He said: “Despite much rumour-mongering recently following unrest across the country, Pride is not cancelled.

“Sussex Police recognise the national issue and we are keen to support wherever we can.

“We are monitoring events elsewhere in the country.

“However, local policing needs come first and we aim for business as usual this weekend.”

The force has also set up a “live log” to counter false rumours about public disorder being spread on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

In a statement the force said: “Over the past few days Sussex Police’s call handling centre has been experiencing a high volume of calls from well-meaning people reporting rumours in relation to potential unrest in the county.


“The majority of these rumours, generally generated through social networking sites, proved to be false and have been third, or even fourth, hand information.

“Anyone who hears about potential unrest first hand or witnesses it themselves is asked to phone Sussex Police.”

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Wilkinson said: “We are aware of a number of rumours circulating on social media sites and through other mediums.

“Sussex Police officers and staff are working hard to stop inaccurate information causing unnecessary concern.”

One of the first rumours tackled by the live log yesterday afternoon related to a car on fire near Brighton and Hove Albion’s new American Express Community Stadium in Falmer.

The live log said: “We’re back in action to report that it remains all quiet across Sussex this afternoon, unless you’ve been reading a local newspaper’s online report that a car was ‘torched’ near the Amex stadium.

“They’ve calmed down a bit now and the revised report correctly points out that it was an electrical fault!

The “torching” report appeared on the Argus website.


Concern also followed a viral email headlined: “Flash news: Fresh outbreak of looting tonight in Brighton! First pictures.”
The spoof headline included a link to video footage of a seagull wandering into a shop before returning outside seconds later with a packet of food.

To see the brief video clip click here.

Another website gives details of changes to bus services during the road closures while the annual Pride parade takes place.

Brighton and Hove Buses said: “There will be no bus services running in the city centre area between 10.45am and 1.15pm.”

Chief Superintendent Bartlett said: “As with previous years, we are expecting tens of thousands of people to attend Pride.”

He said that Pride was a great showcase for Brighton and Hove and one of the biggest events in the city’s calendar, bringing substantial revenues into the local economy.

He said: “Although we recognise that people come to Brighton and Hove to have a good time at Pride, we have every intention of preventing any unlawful outdoor events which are likely to cause a nuisance to the surrounding communites, and this includes the beach.


“People coming along to have a picnic and enjoy the day with their friends are welcome.

“However, in previous years there have been unauthorised events with unlicensed sound systems which have caused public safety concerns and disturbed and annoyed local residents.

“We owe it our neighbourhoods to do all that we can to ensure that they can also have an enjoyable weekend.

“Many successful events are organised in the city and they are planned to ensure that those attending have fun, confident that everything has been done to ensure their safety.

“Unauthorised events do not come with these assurances and we will seek to use the resources in place and the relevant powers during Pride weekend to keep people safe.

“As with the St James’s Street party, we can work closely with organisers to make it safe for the public attending.

“We need residents and land owners to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity immediately so as to prevent ‘raves’ being set up.”

Wayne Jones, from Portslade, learnt first hand about police and council efforts to head off any unauthorised parties on the beach.


He was served with a noise abatement order by Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove City Council after saying that he was holding a party on the beach on Facebook.

The authorities were concerned that up to 5,000 might attend.

If the order is breached it could result in a fine of up to £20,000.

The Pride parade begins on the seafront in Madeira Drive, Brighton, at 11am on Saturday (13 August).

It is expected to arrive in Preston Park, Brighton, at about 1pm.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to join or watch the parade, with many joining in the party in Preston Park, which lasts until 8pm.

This is the first year that revellers have had to buy a ticket to the event in Preston Park.

They are on sale on sale at a kiosk next to St Peter’s Church with some expected to be available on the day.

Organisers urged people to buy their tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

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