Everything you need to know as illegal rave fines and dispersal orders come into effect in Leeds

Fines of up to £10,000 for those organising illegal raves in England have come into force today as authorities clamp down on unlawful gatherings.

By Abbey Maclure
Friday, 28th August 2020, 6:00 am

The new measures have been put in place ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend amid fears of illegal raves taking place.

Police in Leeds have been given extra powers to disperse groups and seize music equipment.

This is everything you need to know about the new police powers:

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Police in Leeds have been given extra powers to disperse large groups and seize music equipment

How much is the fine for attending an illegal rave?

Boris Johnson said that new fines were to be introduced for those hosting raves when he announced a further easing of England’s lockdown last week.

People facilitating or organising illegal raves, unlicensed music events or any other unlawful gathering of 30 people or more may face a £10,000 fine.

Participants can continue to be issued with fines of £100, while those who have already been fined will see the amount double on each offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.

An illegal music event in the Leeds underpass of the M1 motorway was shut down by police in June

What extra powers have police been given in Leeds?

Dispersal orders which will cover the whole of Leeds are being put in place from today until Tuesday.

Alongside existing powers under the current Covid-19 legislation, the orders will allow officers to ask people to leave a specified area and not to return for 48 hours - or they will face arrest.

Under the orders, made under Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, officers can confiscate items being used in anti-social behaviour, such as sound systems or other music equipment.

Why have the Leeds-wide measures been introduced?

Major events that would normally take place this weekend, including Leeds Festival, Leeds West Indian Carnival, and the Black Music Festival, have been postponed this year due to the ongoing pandemic.

Police have shut down several illegal raves over the lockdown period and there are concerns that similar events are being organised for this weekend.

Three arrests were made in May after 200 party-goers attended an illegal rave on an island in the Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve.

Another illegal music event in the Leeds underpass of the M1 motorway, which was attended by about 400 people, was shut down by police in June.

What have West Yorkshire Police said about the new measures?

Police, council and public health officials have urged people to act responsibly and stick to the restrictions this weekend to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Leeds.

Superintendent Chris Bowen, who is leading the policing operation in Leeds, said: “We continue to work in partnership with the local authority and public health to encourage people to recognise the risks that taking part in such events or gatherings presents to individuals, their families and their communities.

“While we are committed to engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance with the restrictions, we know that enforcement may be a necessary option. The dispersal orders we are putting in place for the weekend will support our ability to stop unlicensed events and keep people safe.

“We do however hope that people will recognise the ongoing risks of holding or taking part in such events and do the right thing in everyone’s best interests.”

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