Met police dealing with 23 illegal music events each day in London

24 July 2020, 13:15

By Megan White

Police have responded to more than 530 illegal music events in London in the space of just one month, a Commander has told LBC News.

Scotland Yard said they are being tasked with responding to an average of 23 unlicensed music events every day during the coronavirus lockdown, with London's nightclubs still shut.

Commander Ade Adelekan told Jim Diamond that on Saturday, 18 July alone, information was received on 86 separate incidents.

The events are illegal, have no security, are not insured, are not ticketed and are frequently associated with anti-social behaviour and violence.

Two police officers were injured after missiles were hurled at them while they tried to break up an illegal rave in Hackney last week.

As they tried to get the crowd to leave the area, they became hostile, with canisters, bottles and a bicycle thrown at police.

In another incident, two officers helped to deliver a baby in a hospital car park before going on to be injured at an unlicensed music event in Hammersmith and Fulham.

Commander Adelekan said: “We’re asking people to avoid unlicensed music events this weekend and going forward.

“The reason for that is that they present a real risk to communities and they can present a real risk to all of us.

“Just to give you some context, since June 25 we’ve dealt with 530 unlicensed music events – that’s an astronomical number compared to the same time last year – which works out at an average of 23 per day.

“Even one day last weekend, I believe it was Saturday, we dealt with 90.

“So just to explain the risks: we’re still very much in the middle of a pandemic, so a whole load of people congregating together with loud music emitting and people jumping about and shouting is not helping in curtailing the virus.

“My experience has also been that unlicensed music events tend to bring with them a lot of anti-social behaviour, in terms of lots of cars, lots of people, lots of noise, which blights our communities.

“The other thing, at the extreme end of unlicensed music events, is we’ve seen people being stabbed and some people actually losing their lives.

“Finally, young people tend to attend these events where drug taking and alcohol is unregulated and our young people are being exploited.

“So there are a whole host of reasons why we wouldn’t want anyone attending or any of these popping up at any stage.”

He said there are a number of unlicensed music events: “the ones which pop up in a block or on an estate” and others which are “organised for money.”

Asked if the events were hard to police, Commander Adelekan said: “What I’d say is we’re not complacent, so we have got a joined up approach with our communities, with our local authorities, and ourselves.

“In fact, actually, at about 9.30 this morning I was having a conversation with all of our community safety leads across the 32 BCUs, just to show we have a real joined up approach around this.

“The approach to date has been trying to prevent them from happening, and we’ve been doing that with trying to get information from our local authorities, so they’ve got people out on the ground, making sure we’ve got a joined up approach and going in locally.

“You probably have heard me and a number of other colleagues reaching out to our communities via various different media outlets in various different ways to say please tell us about these things early so we can intervene and prevent them from happening.

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"Our approach on the ground has been one of engagement first, so where we see them popping up, the first thing we would do is try to engage and explain to people why they shouldn’t be doing this.

“Of the 530 I talked about, you probably didn’t know anything about that, because we’ve engaged successfully and got people to do the right thing, so that’s really important.

“The ones which really have come to the public domain are the ones where violence has been used against police officers and we’ve had to intervene in a little bit of a more robust manner.

“So we’ve been successful in dealing with them and we will carry on engaging first and foremost, trying to prevent, early intervention where they’re setting up and I think most importantly where they are in full flow we will proportionately go in, although robustly, to shut them down.”