Priti Patel warns illegal rave organisers 'you are NOT above the law'
Priti Patel warns illegal rave organisers ‘you are NOT above the law’ as police forces across UK prepare to break-up dozens of parties billed as ‘the real Notting Hill Carnival’ after event was cancelled this Bank Holiday weekend
- Police poised for disorder as ‘at least 35’ raves planned for London this weekend
- Last weekend police forces dealt with dozens of illegal raves across the country
- Home Secretary has described illegal rave activities as ‘breathtakingly selfish’
- Ms Patel’s warning comes as new legislation will see organisers fined £10,000
The Home Secretary has lashed out at the organisers of illegal raves, warning them they are ‘not above the law’.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Priti Patel says the Metropolitan Police have responded to more than 1,000 unlicensed music events since June, calling their prevalence amid the coronavirus pandemic ‘unacceptable’.
Addressing those thinking of organising such events, Ms Patel wrote: ‘It is critical that you consider the potential impact of these events, otherwise we risk undoing all the hard work the majority have done to stop the spread of this deadly virus.
‘I urge you to seriously consider the risks you’re creating for everyone in attendance, as well as the wider community.’
More than 200 revellers flouted restrictions at a rave in Birmingham over the weekend. Police dealt with more than 70 street and house parties in the city breaking Covid rules on Saturday
Police were called out to an illegal gathering in Northfield in the Birmingham area on Saturday
Home Secretary has hit out at illegal rave organisers, warning them they are ‘not above law’
The Home Secretary also defended new legislation aimed at deterring illegal music events.
Under the new measures, which came into force on Friday, organisers of illegal raves will be hit with £10,000 fines.
Meanwhile, people not wearing masks and participants in unlawful gatherings can be fined starting at £100, doubling for each repeat offence up to a maximum of £3,200.
Ms Patel said the legislation represents a crackdown on ‘the most serious breaches of social distancing restrictions’.
She added: ‘We will not allow this breathtakingly selfish behaviour from a senseless minority to jeopardise the progress we have made together.’
Her comments come after Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh said the legislation will mean ‘absolutely nothing’ for enforcement in London.
Crowds were also seen gathering at Campbell Park in Milton Keynes over the weekend
New punishments for people organising and attending raves have come into force, just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend.
People facilitating or organising illegal raves, unlicensed music events or any other unlawful gathering of 30 people or more may now face a £10,000 fine.
Participants can continue to be issued with fines of £100, while those who have already been fined will see the amount double on each offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.
Fines for not wearing face coverings where it is mandated have doubled for repeat offenders as of yesterday, starting at £100 and doubling to a maximum of £3,200 for each repeat offence.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘These gatherings are dangerous and those who organise them show a blatant disregard for the safety of others.
‘I am pleased the police have already stepped up their response and I am giving them the tools they need to continue to keep us safe.
‘We will continue to crack down on the small minority who think they are above the law.’
‘It could be good for areas outside London, but it means absolutely nothing to us here,’ he said.
‘People just set up a music box in the middle of the street and say ‘it’s not mine’, it’s utter nonsense.
‘Raves are completely different to an unlicensed music event, which are a very difficult situation for my colleagues, who are abused and harassed and show amazing bravery.
‘We need clearer legislation … we need to be more forceful, clearing the area immediately, close the area down, the Government need more forceful wording around groups of people gathering.’
The warning comes as police forces across the country brace themselves for bank holiday bedlam after dozens of illegal raves were broken up last weekend.
Police broke up a series of illegal raves across Britain over the weekend, including in Huddersfield, Birmingham, Blackburn and Manchester.
And now officers are concerned about parties in London as police chiefs fear up to 35 illegal raves organised across London in place of the cancelled Notting Hill Carnival which they say could cause chaos this bank holiday weekend.
Officers are concerned they will have bottles pelted at them as they try to break up the parties – many of which have been branded the ‘real Notting Hill Carnival’.
Scotland Yard detectives are hoping to stop the gatherings taking place by scouring social media in an operation informally branded ‘Not the Notting Hill Carnival’.
Mr Marsh told the Daily Telegraph: ‘If the weather is half decent, we’re going to have a real problem.
‘We already know of around 35 unlicensed events to replace the Notting Hill Carnival popping up all over London.
Businesses in London are braced for potential disorder as at least 35 events are planned to take place in the capital according to the police in place of Notting Hill Carnival
Thousands of people attend the Notting Hill Carnival in West London on August 26, 2019
Piles of rubbish strewn across the road following the Notting Hill Carnival on August 26, 2019
‘We’re trying to prevent them happening by looking at social media and other things, but it’s a pretty hapless task.
‘What can we do? It’ll end up with more police officers having bottles thrown at them, and putting themselves in harm’s way.’
The weather forecast for the West London area this bank holiday weekend is sunshine and temperatures of up to 64F (18C), but the Met Office said there is unlikely to be any heat building.
The Notting Hill Carnival is an event regularly blighted by violence and drugs, with 353 people arrested and 30 police officers injured at last year’s festival.
There were 111 arrests on the Sunday and 242 on the Monday at the 2019 festival – including 162 for drug offences, 34 for possession of offensive weapons and 37 for assaulting police.
While this year’s event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, an online version will instead be streamed without the crowds.
It comes as police were pelted with missiles in West Yorkshire over the weekend as they tried to disperse 300 people from an illegal rave in a town subject to a local lockdown.
In one weekend, illegal raves took place all over the UK on the final weekend before organisers of the gatherings could face a £10,000 fine
The ‘hostile’ reaction from the revellers in Deighton, Huddersfield, on Saturday night was in stark contrast to local residents – who came out of their homes to applaud officers.
Meanwhile, police in Birmingham also revealed they dealt with more than 70 street and house parties breaking coronavirus rules on last Saturday.
They arrived at one large street party in Northfield, on the outskirts of the city, just after midnight to find two marquees had been set up with a DJ providing the entertainment.
The force tweeted: ‘Most people understand why we are doing this – stay safe – don’t risk spreading the virus.’
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