Leicester

Download Festival: Armed festival police pose for fan pics

Man with two armed officers Image copyright Retro
Image caption Fans were encouraged to pose with officers at the festival

Police at the Download Festival have kept their promise and have been posing for fan photos despite extra security.

There is an armed police presence at the Donington Park rock music festival in Leicestershire in the wake of the London and Manchester terror attacks.

Senior officers have been encouraging fans to still engage with police and are using the hashtag "copaselfie".

Thousands of fans watched American metal band System of a Down end the first day of the festival on Friday.

A spokesman for Leicestershire Police said posing for selfies with armed officers was "safe" and they have had an "amazingly positive response" from the public.

Image copyright Leicester City Police
Image caption This man gave the armed officer a poetry recital

Supt Martyn Ball, from Leicestershire Police, said on Thursday that armed police would help make people feel "safe and secure" following the recent attacks.

Image copyright Leicester City Police
Image caption The police said it had a unique relationship with fans at Download
Image copyright Jade Hodgkins
Image caption Leicestershire Police said the extra security was to ensure people's safety

He added that some parents had been in touch saying their children were considering not going unless there were armed officers.

However, he said this would not change the way the force interacted with revellers.

Downloadcops, which post messages to help fans at the festival, tweeted: "@PRTLeicsSgt with a gentleman that just gave us a wonderful poetry rendition. Sgt Waft is now taking on the night shift. Enjoy."

Leicester City Cops also tweeted: "Hello from the cops at #DL2017, please don't hesitate to come over, say hello! #copaselfie with us! 😈 #Download".

Image copyright Leicester City Police

About 80,000 people are expected at Download over the weekend.

The festival, held at Donington Park in Leicestershire since 2003, has hosted some of the biggest names in rock including Iron Maiden and Motörhead.

Image copyright East Midlands Operational Support Service
Image caption The force has been using the hashtag "copaselfie"

Organiser Andy Copping said Download was the "biggest" of its type in the world.

He told The Beat programme, broadcast on BBC Local Radio, that Download was also the "friendliest".

Image copyright Caitlin Mogridge / Download 2017
Image caption System Of A Down ended the first day of music at Download on Friday

Biffy Clyro are headlining the main stage on Saturday night and Aerosmith, who are said to be performing for the last time in the UK, are the top act on Sunday.

Image copyright Leicestershire Police
Image caption Police said they would still have fun with revellers despite heightened security

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