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Police from around the country drafted in to support Essex events
9:09am Friday 17th August 2012 in Braintree and Witham News
POLICE from eight other forces will be drafted in to Essex this weekend to cope with demand.
A combination of the V Festival, Essex Scout Jamboree and two political rallies and marches - all in Chelmsford - would have stretched the county's force beyond breaking point.
But the force has asked for help from outside and promised other towns in Essex will still have a policing presence at the weekend.
A spokesman for Essex Police said: "Eight other forces wil be providing mutual aid including Surrey, Sussex, The Metropolitan Police, Norfolk, Kent and Cambridgeshire.
"The majority of officers from Essex drafted in to help will be Specials [the volunteer arm of policing].
"Policing levels in other towns should be unaffected."
Tens of thousands of people will arrive today at Hylands Park for a festival weekend with acts performing from Saturday lunchtime.
Attendance is expected to hit 90,000.
At the same time thousands of scouts will be attending the Essex International Jamboree at Roxwell.
This is also the weekend the English Defence League has chosen to march through Chelmsford.
And this inevitably leads to a counter march by Unite Against Fascism at the same time and place - Chelmsford town centre at 1pm tomorrow.
Chief Supt Tim Stokes said: "There is a legal right to protest and assemble in this country. We have liaised with both groups and they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which requires them to agree a route with police and Chelmsford City Council. Essex Police will have sufficient officers and staff available on the day to deal with any situation that arises.
"While we would not want to have a protest march in Chelmsford at the same time as the V Festival, we accept the right of those who wish to hold a peaceful, lawful protest and will facilitate it. However, our priority is public safety and we will do everything in our power to bring to justice anyone who breaks the law.”