Areas which are feared to be ‘hotspots’ for illegal raves are to be patrolled as authorities begin to enforce coronavirus regulations more strictly.
Boris Johnson announced last night, as part of further easing of England’s lockdown, that new fines of up to £10,000 will be introduced for people hosting raves or unlawful gatherings of more than 30 people.
Police forces have now promised to increase patrols of potential rave hotspots in the coming weeks, while officers are asking the public for their support in preventing the spread of Covid-19 in the summer months.
It comes after a surge in unlicensed music events in recent weeks due to the warm weather.
Home secretary Priti Patel said she would not allow progress in tackling the virus to be undermined by ‘a small minority of senseless individuals’.
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‘These measures send a clear message – if you don’t co-operate with the police and if you put our health at risk, action will follow,’ she said.
West Midlands Police shut down 125 parties and raves last weekend – including one of up to 600 people – while officers in Greater Manchester closed down two illegal gatherings in Salford and Rochdale.
The Metropolitan Police revealed that more than 500 illegal events were organised across London just in July.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said that social distancing was not being adhered to at many of the events, which were in breach of coronavirus regulations on large gatherings.
It said officers nationwide will engage with the public by explaining the current regulations in each area and encouraging people to return home.
But it added fines will only be issued as a ‘last resort’ to those who refuse to listen and follow the measures.
NPCC lead for unlicensed music events, commander Ade Adelekan, called such events ‘unlawful and unregulated’ and hosted ‘without regard for the safety of those attending’ as he urged anyone considering attending a block party or rave to avoid doing so.
‘It is vital that forces obtain information about any illegal events at the earliest opportunity,’ he continued.
‘As organisers are able to spread the word about these events quickly online, timely information about suspicious activity or plans enables forces to plan ahead and take effective action against them.
‘To the organisers of this sort of activity, I strongly advise that you seriously consider the risks you’re creating for everyone in attendance and the wider community.’
He added the public have been ‘instrumental’ in reporting information that has led to gatherings being dispersed or stopped from happening.
‘If such an event is taking place in your community and you fear it is in breach of regulations or is causing significant concern, please report it to police online or via 101. Only contact 999 in an emergency,’ he said.
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