gave the order for Pop battle ?
were being made yesterday that the police and the Crown Estates Commissioners
should explain exactly who decided to break up the Windsor Great Park
pop festival, and why. The Commissioners are the park's managers.
Mr Rob Yeomans, a member of the
Church of England Board of Education, accused the Commissioners of passing
the buck in saying that they hail handed over responsibility for the
festival to the police. A member of the Thames Valley Police Authority
said he would be asking whether any members of the Authority had been
At the same time a number of people
were questioning the police methods. Some suggested that it would have
been better if loud hailer announcements had been made early on Thursday
morning saying that the site had to be cleared by a certain time.
Many of the fans crowding outside the Windsor courts said that they
would have left if they had been told the police intended to move them
on. They did not know what the police were waiting for between 9 a.m.
and 11 a.m. on Thursday. They thought the police were just keeping watch
on the festival.
No reason was being given for the
decision to clear the site on Thursday but hints were made that the
police had not wanted to deal with the large bank holiday period crowds
and that any way they had been very busy then with drugs offenders.
The statement that the final decision
was taken by the police seemed at first to clear the Crown -Commissioners
of blame. But: Mr Yeomans said the Commissioners should have been responsible
for any decision taken to end the festival.
He added that the Festival Welfare
Services Committee, set up after an investigation: by the Department
of the Environment into conditions at pop festivals, had tried to provide
facilities at Windsor.
"The police were prepared to let us use an army field near the site,
but the Commissioners refused permission. We tried to negotiate but
are were told we could not provide facilities. The attitude seemed to
be that the festival was illegal and they were not going to acknowledge
it by giving us permission to be there."
The Commissioners said
last night that they had left to the discretion of the police
when it came to taking action ,against pop fans breaking the park
regulations; "It was a question of law and order which is primarily
a matter for the police."
The Commissioners had not exercised
any special pressure to have the police remove the fans, even though
the law had been broken from the word go. No permission had been given
for the fans to camp in the park. They had not asked for it .
Paul Miller, secretary of the Festival
Welfare Services, said that if their facilities had been at the site
"we might have been able to take the heat out of the situation. His
organization would be ready to help in any inquiry. It would have been
wiser for the police to try to loud hail the fans and persuade them
to move off peacefully rather than just moving in at them.
"Most would have left I am sure."
Councillor Trevor Brown of Newbury,
Berkshire, a member of the Thames Valley Police Authority, said he had
written to the clerk of the authority Mr Robert Gash, asking him why
the decision to break up the festival had been taken on Thursday rather
than at the beginning of the festival. If the fans had to be moved at
all then it would have been better to stop them from coming on to the
Secondly, he wanted to know who
had taken the decision and whether any members of the Police Authority
had been approached. Lastly, had there been random checks for drugs
as Release alleged? If so what were the regulations on searching for
Decisions like Thursday's should
be taken in the open with elected representatives, either local or national,
taking part. "I do not know if the right decision was taken or not but
I think that the decision should have been discussed." He too, thought,
the fans should have been warned to move off. "My son's friends were
there. They are respectable lads. One was dragged from his van by his
hair. That van is his pride and joy. My son would have been at that
festival if he had not been ill."
Thames Valley police, who said
the final decision to break up the festival was taken by the Chief Constable
David Holdsworth, were yesterday starting to prepare the report
called for by the Home Secretary, Mr Roy Jenkins.
Yesterday the 220 people charged
after Thursday's incidents, and the 300 charged earlier in the festival
were being dealt with by magistrates sitting in shifts at Windsor. Many
were remanded to later dates but some of those fined claimed that they
were now destitute.
The Thames Valley Chief Constable,
Mr David Holdsworth. said: "In my view Thames Valley police showed great
restraint and patience during the course of this very difficult operation."
Police said 22 officers and 29 others were injured in clashes. Among
the police still in hospital are a sergeant aged 49 with a suspected
coronary and a young police woman with a back injury.
The King Edward VII Hospital; Windsor, said it was not known whether
the sergeant's illness was related to events in the park.
Windsor townspeople were mostly
behind their Conservative MP, Dr Alan Glyn, who is asking the Home Office
to prevent another Windsor Festival. But some shopkeepers and cafe owners
who were giving the remaining fans food were "heartbroken.' One woman
said: "All the fans I have seen in my shop have been well - mannered
and respectful. They had paid me and said thank you.
I do not believe they are all liars and I do believe that some terrible,
nightmare, things have happened here in Windsor over the last few days."
Fans still in Windsor were settling onto a new site in a riverside
field in the shadow of the castle. The police were patrolling the edge
of the field. One officer said he believed the owners of the field were
taking legal advice.
The undaunted festival organizers
are planning a rally in London's Hyde Park today to organize a festival
next year .Some fans were on the move to Stonehenge, where the Wallys
are again installed. Several said they would be reopening the Windsor
Free Festival on the Wallys site.
The Department of the Environment. who took out a court order to
rid the site of the Wallys, said a pop festival at Stonehenge would
Richard Harkinson legal
counsellor for Release, said his organization would be submitting its
own report to the Home Secretary. It would deal with questions such
as the lack of access by defendants to lawyers and doctors. It would
also raise what Release considered the general abuse of powers of random
stop and search, and police failure to give bail before court appearances.
The organization was also concerned about alleged blanket fingerprinting
and photography of detained people. "The pre-trial action by the police
is illustrated in the overwhelming number of cases in which guilty pleas
were entered just so that people could get away.''