Scotland Yard has drafted in teams of specialist public order officers to support local police as part of a crackdown on illegal raves, unlawful gatherings and any other spontaneous incidents. The warnings come as Home Secretary Priti Patel branded a surge in the number of illegal raves “unacceptable”.
There have been more than 1,000 unlicensed music events in London since the end of June and Met Police chiefs said officers would continued to respond to such events over ther Bank Holiday weekend.
A police spokesman said: “We are aware of a number of planned demonstrations and events taking place across London, and have been liaising with the organisers, advising them to carefully consider the Health Protection Regulations regarding gatherings.
“Contravening this legislation could result in anyone involved in the holding of a large gathering of more than 30 people being subjected to a fine up to £10,000.
“These regulations have been designed to help protect people from coronavirus.”
This year’s Notting Hill Carnival organisers took the decision to celebrate the event virtually with a digital experience so there are no organised plans or events being held in the area and police chiefs have warned revellers to stay away.
Scotland Yard’s 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.”
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He continued: “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.
Ms Patel has lashed out at the organisers of illegal raves and told them they are “not above the law”.
She said the surge in the number of unlicensed events during the coronavirus pandemic was “unacceptable” and defended the introduction of the £10,000 fine for organisers which came into force yesterday.
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 said: “We will not allow this breathtakingly selfish behaviour from a senseless minority to jeopardise the progress we have made together.”