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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Raves prevented and gatherings disrupted thanks to help from communities

There is 1 related update to this story

Multiple unlicensed music events were prevented and several large gatherings disrupted across the force area over the weekend.

A significant policing plan had been put in place to ensure we were able to respond quickly to emerging issues and crimes as bars and restaurants opened for the first time in more than three months.

As expected, demand for our services did increase but thankfully there were no significant incidents of disorder.

Superintendent Mark Edgington said: “We worked tirelessly during the past week and throughout the weekend with our local authority partners and local businesses to ensure people were able to enjoy their first night out in months safely.

“The vast majority of people behaved responsibly and we’d like to thank them for ensuring the re-opening of the night-time economy did not lead to any significant incidents.

“As part of the proactive policing operation we had in place officers engaged with anyone involved in a gathering to remind them of their responsibility to control the spread of COVID-19.

“Most people officers spoke to were very respectful and brought an end to their activities or decided against going ahead with them and they deserve credit for complying with our requests.

“In one instance, when it was suspected a rave was about to take place, officers did have to seize equipment to prevent it from happening. I’d like to thank the member of public who called us about this incident – without their call the incident could have led to significant disruption to the local community and to multiple arrests.”

Incidents prevented or disrupted included:

  • An unlicensed music event which was about to take place in an industrial unit in Warmley, South Gloucestershire. Officers attended, prevented approximately 1,000 people from entering the building and seized a vehicle and sound equipment.
  • An unlicensed music event on Winkworth Place in St Paul’s, Bristol. Officers engaged with the event organiser and with the help of several members of the community encouraged them to pack up their equipment without playing any music.
  • A gathering on Grosvenor Road and on Grosvenor Green in St Paul’s to mark what would have been St Paul’s Carnival. Members of the community were encouraging social distancing but when officers became concerned the crowd was becoming too large they asked for the sound system to be switched off which the organisers did instantly.
  • A report of loud music and a gathering of people on Brook Road in the Montpelier area of Bristol. Officers spoke with the occupants of a house who agreed to turn the music off. Unfortunately we were called back to the same street a few hours later to reports of approximately 50 people standing in the street, shouting and playing music. Officers returned and the group were dispersed from the area within 10 minutes.
  • An unlicensed music event in Mina Road Park in St Paul’s, Bristol on Sunday attended by around 50 people. Officers negotiated with organisers who agreed to end the event at 6pm.

Supt Edgington added: “It is thanks to the fantastic relationships our officers have with our communities which enables us to police by consent.

“The ongoing public health crisis undoubtedly continues to frustrate many people but we’re extremely grateful for the support shown to us this weekend – it greatly helped us minimise disruption and keep people safe.”