Case Studies

Ahead of bank holiday

by Mark Rowe

London has been divided into five geographical areas and each assigned public order officers for extra resilience to deploy in support of local officers, should it be required in responding to any spontaneous incidents, the Met Police reports ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend.

There have been more than 1,000 unlicensed music events (UMEs) in London since the end of June. The Met is aware of a number of planned demonstrations and events taking place across London, and has been liaising with the organisers, advising them to carefully consider the Health Protection Regulations on gatherings. As of today, anyone who organises or facilitates a gathering of more than 30 people that is in breach of the coronavirus regulations could get a £10,000 fine. Members of the public who attend could face a £100 fine for a first offence.

Pictured, Muswell Hill, north London, posters advertising an Extinction Rebellion demo at Parliament on Tuesday, September 1.

This year Notting Hill Carnival organisers have gone to a virtual event, and there are no organised plans or events being held in the Notting Hill area, say police.

Met Commander Bas Javid said: “Our approach to policing London during this time has been to engage, explain, encourage and only then enforce, and this will continue across what we believe will be a busy long weekend. We know people will want to be out celebrating the holiday, and we want them to do so safely reminding people of the restrictions which are in place to keep them safe.

“Throughout this week, officers have been travelling in a Met engagement bus across London, working in conjunction with local authorities and other blue light services to meet with communities, reminding them of the Government health restrictions, and explaining our policing style and operation.

“Watch the celebration of Carnival from the comfort of your own home, online. We urge people to not come into the traditional area to celebrate; there are no events. Where there are large gatherings of people, officers will be deployed to interact with those gathered.

“Unlicensed Music Events (UMEs) are a blight on our communities and cause untold distress and fear, often attracting criminal behaviour and violence. If you have information about a UME contact us so we can respond quickly to close them down.”

Meanwhile since the beginning of July Essex Police have recorded about 25 unlicensed music events in the county.

Last weekend, West Midlands Police said they were called to break up 96 parties and meet ups around the region which included up to 100 people at Babbs Mill Park in Solihull. And likewise Kent Police say they will have additional officers on patrol this weekend to disrupt and prevent any unlawful gatherings.

Dorset Police say that 999 call demand remains at record levels. While overall recorded crime for July and August in the county remains around four per cent down, there has been 630 public order incidents reported – an increase of almost 15 per cent – and a big increase in reports of anti-social behaviour (ASB), the force says; particularly what it calls ‘drink related issues’.

Dorset Assistant Chief Constable Sam de Reya said: “We appreciate for much of our tourism economy the Bank Holiday brings the opportunity to try and recover revenue lost during lockdown earlier this year. We want to support that, but the public must help themselves by observing COVID-19 safety measures and behaving respectfully.”

Likewise in neighbouring Hampshire, Portsmouth District Commander, Supt Steve Burridge, asked for people to be mindful of others. He said: “If you’re on a night out please observe the government guidance and don’t put yourself, your friends, or other people in the same venue in a position where their health could be adversely affected.”

If you have any information about an unlicensed music event police ask to call on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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