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Caribbean Carnival security was tightened over ‘acid attack’ fears

An anonymous tip-off that an acid throwing attack was being planned at Nottingham’s Caribbean Carnival1 was behind increased security at the event. After a police tip-off, the organisers of the event on Sunday (August 20) took measures to tighten security around food and drink being brought into the area. The decision not to allow anyone to bring any food or drink into the carnival meant extra queues for people attending, but the event ultimately passed off peacefully.

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A statement was released following the carnival by the organisers explaining the situation, which said: “We are very aware of the difficulties people faced on entering the site and we want to apologise for the inconvenience caused.

“However, the police did inform us just before the start of the event that information had come to their attention that an acid attack was being planned at the carnival . This meant that security had to be much tighter around food and drink . Acid can come in many forms, not just a liquid, and this was the reason for the thoroughness of the searches.

“We shared the fact that food and drink was no longer allowed, via our social media, as soon as we could . We acted to keep the public safe and we were successful in this aim.

“Nonetheless, people had to queue for too long and were rightly upset to not be allowed entry with food . We are sincerely sorry to everyone affected – especially those with young children . We know how frustrating this was for you and take full responsibility for the upset this caused.”

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A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police said: “Nottinghamshire Police received information from an anonymous source about the Caribbean Carnival.

“The information was uncorroborated, extremely vague and did not relate to the event’s location, as such it was not considered an immediate threat to the event.

“As a precaution, the event organisers were made aware of the information and they took the decision to stop people taking liquids into the event.

“Officers working during the event were also briefed to be vigilant to any suspicious activity.

“The event went ahead without any incident of this nature occurring . The Caribbean Carnival is an important event in Nottingham s multi-cultural calendar and the police have worked very hard providing advice to the event organisers to ensure that the carnival is safe for all to attend.

“Officers had a very enjoyable time at the event interacting with the carnival-goers and supporting the security on site.”

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The beefed-up security was not the only hitch on the day . Musician Horace Andy had been due to play but had been too unwell to make his flight from Jamaica to attend. But overall, organisers hailed the event a success.

A spokesman said: “The parade was well received and those who witnessed it on the route got into the carnival vibe; the site layout within the park was much improved; the weather behaved itself until the last 20 minutes and finally the volunteers rallied round to best address the challenges that we faced.

“Thank you so much for supporting the Nottingham Carnival 2017.”

References

  1. ^ Nottingham’s Caribbean Carnival (www.nottinghampost.com)

UK’s 2m support for Egypt security projects branded ‘deeply disturbing’ – The Guardian

The government is facing questions over transparency after almost 2 million in aid and defence funding was given to security projects in Egypt, including support for policing, the criminal justice system and the treatment of juvenile detainees. The news comes with Egypt s security forces under fire1 from human rights groups for routine disappearances, the torture of detainees, and the jailing of political opponents and journalists. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the cash was granted to the Egyptian authorities through the conflict, stability and security fund (CSSF), the operations, objectives and achievement of which were described as opaque by a parliamentary inquiry earlier this year.

MPs and Lords criticised the secrecy2 of the 1.1bn fund, claiming they could neither scrutinise it nor provide taxpayers with information about how it was spent . The avowed aim of the secretive CSSF, which is financed by the aid and defence budgets, is to build security and tackle conflict overseas. Human rights group Reprieve said it was concerned that 650,000 of the 1.85m security funding granted through the CSSF in 2015-16 appeared to involve direct engagement with the Egyptian police and criminal justice system , including programmes relating to juvenile detainees . Reprieve asked for further details from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, but the request was refused on the grounds that it was not in the public interest. Maya Foa, Reprieve s director, said the FCO s lack of transparency was deeply disturbing .

Foa said: Ministers are well aware of rights abuses by Egyptian courts and prisons, including against juveniles like Ibrahim Halawa .

It is, therefore, deeply disturbing that the government refuses to release any information about its work with these serial human rights violators.

Transparency in the use of taxpayer money is crucial where there is a risk that the UK could be contributing to abuses as serious as torture and illegal executions . The Foreign Office should urgently explain what these projects involve, and demonstrate they are not exacerbating the terrible ordeals of people like Ibrahim. The case of Halawa, an Irish citizen who has been detained in Egypt for five years awaiting trial, provides a stark reminder of the nature of criminal justice in Egypt under President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Halawa, who faces the death penalty if convicted, was arrested with his three sisters during a protest against the ousting of Mohamed Morsi at a Cairo mosque in 20133 . He was then 17, and a juvenile under international law .

His sisters were released but he was charged, along with 493 others, with attending an illegal protest. Intense diplomatic efforts by the Irish government have failed to secure Halawa s release and his trial has been delayed more than 30 times, partly due to the complications inherent in organising a mass trial involving almost 500 defendants . Last year, he told the Guardian4 he had been stripped, beaten and left for dead after a hunger strike . On 29 June, Halawa s case was postponed again, to 2 October, according to the FCO. In a letter sent to Reprieve in response to its request for further information about the CSSF s support for security initiatives in Egypt, the FCO said that providing further detail about the projects could jeopardise the trust and confidence in us by the Egyptian government and therefore our ability to both protect and promote UK interests in the future .

The revelations expose wider concerns about the rising percentage of Britain s 13bn aid budget being spent by ministries other than the Department for International Development, and the implications of such spending for public scrutiny .

Some 36% of aid is spent through other departments who have direct responsibility for that portion of budget. Kate Osamor, the shadow international development secretary, called for all government departments to publish aid-related data . Osamor said: This alarming case raises yet more urgent questions about how the National Security Council is deploying the CSSF to spend aid money that should be earmarked to help the world s poorest.

The government needs to come clean on how they are spending aid money through other departments, and make sure these other departments quickly get themselves up to DfID s level of aid transparency . In this day and age, every government department should be publishing data for all aid-financed programmes, and not hiding behind the excuse of national security . The NSC should publish their country strategies, open up the CSSF to scrutiny, and tell the public whether or not our aid is being spent on detaining juveniles.

Members of the Egyptian police special forces guard Cairo s Tahrir Square on the fifth anniversary of the Arab spring uprising . Photograph: Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images

In a recent briefing, the FCO reported that the human rights situation in Egypt continues to deteriorate with reports of torture, police brutality and enforced disappearance5. In a statement, a spokesman for the FCO said: The UK is committed to working with Egypt to support political and economic reform, and we encourage the Egyptian government to deliver on its international and domestic human rights commitments . But it is not good enough to merely criticise other countries from the sidelines . We have to work with Egypt to encourage change .

All projects carried out by the UK government comply with the UK s domestic and international human rights obligations.

The statement said the CSSF was working with the International Aid Transparency6 Initiative to ensure they meet standards.

References

  1. ^ Egypt s security forces under fire (www.hrw.org)
  2. ^ criticised the secrecy (www.theguardian.com)
  3. ^ at a Cairo mosque in 2013 (www.theguardian.com)
  4. ^ he told the Guardian (www.theguardian.com)
  5. ^ reports of torture, police brutality and enforced disappearance (www.gov.uk)
  6. ^ Transparency (www.theguardian.com)

Armed police to patrol V Festival 2017 for extra security checks

Armed police officers are set to be on patrol at V Festival1 this weekend for increased security, as organisers says there will be extra checks. Earlier this year, V Festival organisers Festival Republic said that they were looking into ways to increase security2 in the wake of the Manchester terror attack3 looking into extra ways to protect their fans . Now, V Festival say that they have been working with local authorities at the highest level , and that there will be extra bag checks for fans arriving by car and by foot.

Your safety is our priority and we ve put in place all necessary measures to maximise public safety, working closely with local authorities at the highest level, say V organisers . We ask that you also play a part in keeping Virgin V Festival safe and secure, so please take note of our messages4 . Pack accordingly and stay strong together.

They added: All festival goers will be subject to extra searches of their vehicles, bags and their person.

Please be patient if there are longer queues than normal . We request that you co-operate with any security requests and searches . Please pack light and take note of our bag restrictions.

Speaking in the wake of 22 music fans being killed in the Manchester terror attack, V organisers said5: The festival perimeter, arena, backstage and off-site areas are all robustly controlled and managed by security experts . Festivals are what we do . The hundreds of staff working on these events know them inside out and have been working on them for many years.

Your safety is our utmost concern .

Please review our Personal Safety section on the festival websites and if you have any major concerns please don t hesitate to get in touch. This comes after extra provisions and checks were put in place at Glastonbury 20176. V Festival 2017 welcomes the likes of Jay Z, Pink, Ellie Goulding, Jason Derulo, The Wombats, James Arthur, Stormzy, Craig David, Dizzee Rascal and many more. Check out the weather forecast here7.

References

  1. ^ V Festival (www.nme.com)
  2. ^ V Festival organisers Festival Republic said that they were looking into ways to increase security (www.nme.com)
  3. ^ Manchester terror attack (www.nme.com)
  4. ^ please take note of our messages (www.vfestival.com)
  5. ^ Speaking in the wake of 22 music fans being killed in the Manchester terror attack, V organisers said (www.nme.com)
  6. ^ extra provisions and checks were put in place at Glastonbury 2017 (www.nme.com)
  7. ^ Check out the weather forecast here (www.nme.com)