Police receive 90 reports of illegal bank holiday gatherings

Officers can now fine organisers up to £10,000 for hosting illegal gatherings. Credit: West Midlands Police

Police had to break up two raves within hours of each other last night as more than 90 reports of illegal gatherings poured in over the bank holiday weekend.

Officers turned up to a gathering on Wellington Road in Handsworth, late on Monday, August 31, just as the music was being set up. Hours earlier, police had also shut down another party just over the city boundary in Sandwell.

It comes after a 100-person rave was shut down at Babbs Mill park in Solihull last weekend.

Waheed Saleem, West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, says the cost of policing such activities could be more than £250,000.

I’d rather we spent this £250,000 on dealing with other pressing issues, and our demand rates have gone up to pre-Covid levels, but unfortunately we are utilising these resources to try and close down these illegal gatherings.

Waheed Saleem, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner

Authorities in Birmingham were given new powers on Friday, following a rise in coronavirus cases in the city. It means that officers can now fine organisers up to £10,000 for hosting illegal gatherings. Pubs and other businesses can also be shut down.

Currently, Coronavirus guidelines state that large gatherings must be confined to 30 people with social distancing measures such as staying two metres apart, as well as hand sanitising.

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