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'Not Above the Law’: UK Home Secretary Slams Organisers of Illegal Raves Taking Place Nationwide

© AP Photo / Ajit SolankiPriti Patel speaks during the inauguration of Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Gandhinagar, India, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015.
Priti Patel speaks during the inauguration of Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Gandhinagar, India, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. - Sputnik International
The Home Secretary’s harsh words come as police were allegedly faced with hostile behaviour this week by 300 party-goers after trying to break up an illegal rave in the town of Deighton, that was under a localised coronavirus lockdown. Police in Birmingham have also reported that they had to quash at least 70 street parties over the past week.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has issued a warning against those participating in illegal raves that have been exploding in number across the country since the imposition of the coronavirus lockdown: “you are not above the law.”

Putting her political frustration into words in a Daily Telegraph column, Ms. Patel - who has made law and order her mission at the Home Office - slammed as “unacceptable” that police have had to respond to more than 1,000 illegal outdoor rave parties since June alone, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is critical that you consider the potential impact of these events, otherwise we risk undoing the hard work the majority have done to stop the spread of this deadly virus,” the Home Secretary wrote.

“We will not allow this breathtakingly selfish behaviour from a senseless minority to jeopardise the progress we have made together… These gatherings may seem harmless, but they are not ” she added.

The Home Secretary’s comments come on the heels of new legislation which aims to stop the illegal raves from happening.

The new bill, which was passed into law on Friday, August 28, threatens to impose a whopping fine of £10,000 on the organisers of illegal rave parties. The Home Secretary has also sad that, “the police also have power of entry and seizure of sound equipment in certain circumstances, such as unlicensed music events.”

Moreover, those caught not wearing face masks and attending the events can potentially be fined by the police anywhere between £100-£3,200.

Ms. Patel has insisted that the policy is necessary and represents a crackdown on “the most serious breaches of social distancing restrictions.”

Since the UK’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown and social distancing measures where imposed in mid-March, the number of illegal outdoor raves - usually held in fields, abandoned buildings or even in streets - have rapidly risen. Police forces across the UK broke up a number of them last week, including in the UK’s second city, Birmingham, as well as in Blackburn, Manchester and in the capital, London.

The world-famous Notting Hill Carnival - held last year in late August - has been cancelled this year due to coronavirus, reportedly leaving police forces in and around London concerned that there will be an explosion of illegal raves to take its place. Around 35 have already reportedly been organised, many of which have been called by organisers ‘the real Notting Hill Carnival.’ Police have reportedly been scanning social media to find pages set up by the organisers of the illegal events. Back in July, the UK government was pressuring Facebook to remove such pages.

Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh previously told the Daily Telegraph in reference to the feared spike in illegal outdoor raves over the late August period “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. We’re trying to prevent them from 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.”




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