Illegal rave organisers face £10,000 fines under tough new Covid rules

14 August 2020, 06:27

Illegal raves have blighted London during the lockdown
Illegal raves have blighted London during the lockdown. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Anyone organising an illegal rave in England could face a £10,000 fine under strict new lockdown rules.

Police in London alone dealt with more than 530 unlicensed music events during the peak of the coronavirus lockdown breaking the rules on large gatherings.

With rules in England set to once again relax this coming weekend, the Prime Minister announced that new fines are to be introduced for those hosting raves or other unlawful gatherings of more than 30 people.

Downing Street sources said that fines for those responsible could be up to £10,000.

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Met Police Commander Ade Adelekan told LBC News 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 and many have resulted in police officers being injured.

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Police bodycam footage as officers come under attack at an illegal rave

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Home Secretary Priti Patel said she would not allow progress in tackling the virus to be undermined by "a small minority of senseless individuals".

"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.

It comes after police forces promised to increase patrols of potential hotspots for raves in the coming weeks, while police chiefs are asking the public for their support in preventing the spread of Covid-19 in the summer months.

Last weekend, West Midlands Police shut down 125 parties and raves - including one of up to 600 people - while officers in Greater Manchester closed down two illegal gatherings in Salford and Rochdale.

In July, the Metropolitan Police revealed that more than 500 illegal events were organised across London in just one month.

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.

Only as a "last resort" will police issue fines to those attending who refuse to listen and follow the measures, it added.

Commander Ade Adelekan, NPCC lead for unlicensed music events, 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."

Concerned residents call 999 to report illegal rave

The public have been "instrumental" in reporting information that has led to gatherings being dispersed or stopped from happening, Mr Adelekan said.

He added: "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."