Please help stop illegal raves

Press release from Greater Manchester Police

Greater Manchester Police is urging anyone who is considering attending an illegal rave this weekend to stop and think.

Those attending an illegal rave face the prospect of arrest and prosecution. They are utterly unacceptable and we will do all we can to prevent them from happening.

Body worn video footage of the response to a stabbing at the illegal rave in Carrington

We’re aware that there are possible further illegal raves being organised in the Greater Manchester area this weekend. There will be a dedicated policing operation in place, with a much higher police presence in potential hot spot areas. GMP is also liaising with neighbouring forces across the North West and working alongside key partners to broaden our intelligence picture in order to identify and determine where events may take place.

We’re actively encouraging the public and businesses to provide us with information around any future events. We want the public to understand that the way these events are coordinated often present a unique set of challenges for policing and mean that we have to adapt and change our approach. This means we’re calling on the public to help us – if you have any intelligence or hear about an event taking place, please get in touch with us so we can prevent it and ultimately save lives. The key to stopping these events is early intelligence.

Ahead of the weekend, GMP are joining forces with the North West Ambulance Service, as well as uniting with local industry experts, including Greater Manchester’s Night-time economy adviser Sacha Lord, to reiterate the dangers of illegal raves and events. Backing Sacha, will also be events producer Jon Drape, who is instrumental in the planning of festivals all over the country. The two experts will be sharing their own homemade videos in a bid to engage with young people across the region, reinforce the key safety messages and persuade people to make the right choices in the coming weeks. 

Alongside industry experts, the campaign is also being supported by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, as well as the parents of a boy who was seriously stabbed at an unlicensed event last weekend. We hope that by uniting, we can warn young people of the significant risks posed by such events and keep our communities safe. Together, we’re sending a clear message – do not go to illegal raves and risk your lives.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey said: “Last weekend (Saturday 13 June 2020) we saw two large raves take place in Carrington and Oldham, with around 6000 people in attendance. Clearly, this was in breach of the current Coronavirus regulations and puts everyone at risk, but also had tragic consequences for some attendees after one young woman was raped, three men stabbed and a teenager sadly lost his life after a suspected drug overdose.

“A top priority for us will always be the safety of our communities and we will continue to strike the balance of proportionality and wider public safety with our overall response to incidents such as these ones. Under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, we can intervene in incidents and prosecute anyone who has taken part in any illegal activity – whether that be drug supply or public disorder and any violence. We are sending a strong warning to those thinking about attending such events - you could face enforcement action and receive a criminal record.  

“In normal times, the people of Greater Manchester will know that we boast a fantastic night-time economy and we have been home to many festivals, music events and concerts. Year after year we proudly welcome people to Greater Manchester to enjoy the fantastic events we have to offer. However, it’s imperative to stress just how much planning and meticulous organisation goes into these events in order to keep you safe. From rigorous security measures as attendees arrive, to fully staffed medical tents where treatment can be administered quickly and effectively, as well as stringent crowd management measures. There is absolutely no doubt that this kind of planning and preparation saves lives.

“There is also the key issue of accessibility for emergency service workers. If something goes wrong, there are clear plans and procedures in place to ensure that whoever is in trouble will be able to receive the assistance they need – whether this be from paramedics, police officers or security guards. In an unlicensed event like the ones we saw last weekend, on some occasions, emergency services workers struggled to get to people who were in need because of the sheer number of people who were in attendance and the non-existent planning around crowd management and safety.”

Having reviewed body worn footage from last weekend’s event, it was clear that the emergency services had difficulty reaching those in need because crowd management and safety measures were not in place. Fortunately, officers were able to administer life-saving treatment to a stabbing victim at the scene, but it is a stark reminder of how important planning is to ensure the safety of all.

ACC Bailey continued, “Clearly over the weekend a number of people needed our help and it’s disappointing to see that some of our officers were met with anger and violence, even whilst administering life-saving first aid. This is simply not acceptable, police officers work tirelessly to protect our communities and keep people safe. They are committed to this and don’t deserve to be treated in this way.

“I would also like to send a really clear message to organisers of illegal raves and events. I would implore you to seriously consider the risks and understand that as organisers, it is your responsibility to keep people safe.  There are often young teenagers in attendance, who are putting their lives in your hands. We also have to stress that we will do our very utmost to work with licensing authorities to ensure that anyone who is found organising these kind of events, or supplying equipment such as generators, is dealt with robustly and faces the fullest consequences. You too could also face prosecution. So please, I would ask people to think beforehand and ask yourself if it’s worth it.”

Sacha Lord, Night-time economy advisor for Greater Manchester, added: “I can assure you, that no one in Greater Manchester is looking forward to organising a party more than me. When I woke up to see the news last weekend, I was so saddened to see how so many people had acted so irresponsibly. Organising an event for thousands of people takes many months of working alongside emergency services and local authorities. What concerns me even more is not only is this just the start of the summer, but the images of parents dropping off their kids at these illegal events. We are still in lockdown. Last weekend, 6000 people went home to their family, loved ones and friends and could possibly have spread the virus. Sadly, one person didn’t. They attended these events under the most dangerous conditions possible. I strongly urge everyone to look back at last weekend and do not ever let it happen again. There will be a time to party again. It won’t be too far away, but it will have your safety at the forefront."

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “What happened last weekend was unacceptable, putting a huge strain on police resources and putting people’s lives at risk. I want to minimise the chances of this happening again, which is why I have asked GMP to develop a clear multi-agency action plan with the aim of preventing or disrupting any future raves. Lessons have been learned from these incidents, and I’m pleased GMP will be taking a more robust approach to events like this in the future.

“We can’t say for certain that we can prevent all such events from taking place again. But we can say to Greater Manchester residents that there is no question of us turning a blind eye or adopting a permissive approach. These events are illegal at any time, but particularly during a pandemic, and we will redouble our efforts to close them down and protect lives in Greater Manchester.”

Baroness Bev Hughes, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime said: “The vast majority of Greater Manchester residents have played their part to help fight coronavirus. But the reckless actions of the organisers of last weekend’s illegal raves and those who attended have cast a shadow over our communities, putting an unnecessary strain on our emergency services, putting our residents at risk, and sadly leading to tragedy for some attendees.

“We saw the real Greater Manchester in the aftermath, when residents came out to help the clean-up and I want to appeal to that strong community spirit today. Please help us to keep our communities safe and report any information to the police so they can take action. And if you are thinking of attending these illegal events, you are putting yourself and loved ones at risk so please think again.”

If you have any intelligence that you would like to pass on, please call our dedicated Operational Communications Branch on 101.

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Date published
Thursday 18 June 2020

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