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

Community support helps officers disperse gatherings

Image of police helmet and text saying thank you

We were able to disperse a number of large gatherings across our force area yesterday thanks to support from our communities.

Events in Bristol, Bathampton and in Cheddar Gorge were disrupted after members of the public called to inform us they were taking place.

It follows recent calls from the force for residents to let us know when events were happening.

We received several reports from 2pm onwards about an unlicensed music event taking place in Dame Emily Park in Bedminster, Bristol, which was attended by several hundred people.

Officers attended and engaged with the organisers who agreed to stop the music at 6pm.

Emergency services subsequently received further calls about anti-social behaviour in the park at 9.30pm, with hundreds of people reported standing around a bonfire.

Police returned to the park along with the fire service leading to those gathering leaving soon afterwards.

In Bathampton, several calls were made to our non-emergency number 101 about a rave being set up at approximately 11.35pm.

Officers engaged with the land owners who did not support the event and additional resources were brought in.

A large number of vehicles attempting to arrive were subsequently turned away while a dispersal order was put in place which required those already in attendance to leave.

The local neighbourhood policing team in Cheddar were also called into action when a large number of vehicles started to gather in the Gorge from 3pm onwards.

Additional resources were again brought in and officers worked with organisers to bring an end to the event. Several motorists were also issued with individual dispersal notices.

Chief Inspector Nigel Colston said: “Our ability to disrupt large gatherings and raves is significantly enhanced when we have the support of our communities.

“We’re extremely grateful for the assistance provided to us this weekend which enabled us to take action and bring an end to events which started to frustrate local residents.

“We hope people appreciate we can’t always charge in to situations to bring them to an early finish and there may well be some disruption until we can safely disperse people from the area.

“All of the events we disrupted this weekend were in motion before officers attended but we were able to negotiate with organisers and participants and encourage them to leave or issue orders requiring them to.

“The sooner we’re made aware of events taking place the quicker we can act and I’d like to thank all those who called us yesterday to report their concerns, it helped enormously.”