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

Officers prevent suspected unlicensed music event in Bristol

Image of police helmet and text saying thank you

Police successfully prevented a suspected unlicensed music event taking place overnight.

A 19-year-old man was arrested shortly after 7pm yesterday evening (Saturday 9 January) on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance, in connection with reports that a ‘Bristol Freerave’ was being advertised on social media at an undisclosed location. He has since been released under investigation.

Units were then deployed to Oldbury Court in Fishponds at about 8.30pm following intelligence that the area was being targeted for a possible unauthorised event.

A significant number of people arriving in the area by car and on foot were spoken to by officers. Thirty-eight fixed penalty notices for breaches of COVID regulations were issued, while around 30 minors were given advice by officers.

A further arrest was made in connection with a drink driving offence and a vehicle was seized for having no insurance.

Officers remained in the area until the early hours of the morning to ensure that no event occurred, and continued to speak to drivers arriving at the location.

Units also attended Eastville Park and Lodge Causeway following reports that events were being set up. However, no unauthorised gatherings were found.

Chief Inspector Paul Wigginton said: “I’d like to acknowledge the incredible efforts of our officers and staff to ensure that this unauthorised event – which would have put many people in harm’s way – didn’t proceed as planned.

“We know that the key to policing these events is prevent them before they get underway, which is why we are also hugely grateful to those members of the public who have got in touch with us to provide vital intelligence that allowed us to intervene early.

“An abnormally large number of vehicles and /or people arriving in an unusual area, or loud speakers being unloaded are the sort of red flags that could suggest an unauthorised music event is due to take place. We urge anyone who spots the signs of an event being set up to get in touch with us immediately on 101.

“The police understand this year has been difficult, but the reality is that unauthorised mass gatherings increase the risk of spreading Covid-19 at a time when the NHS is under great pressure, as well as causing huge disruption and distress to local residents.

“We continue to thank to the large majority of people who are observing the guidelines to help protect their health and that of their loved ones.”