Police operation to prevent gatherings, raves and house parties in Staffordshire continues as new fines announced
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An operation to prevent illegal gatherings, raves and parties is continuing across Staffordshire in the wake of the Government’s announcement to increase fines.
On Thursday (Jan 21) the Home Secretary Priti Patel, announced an increase in the fine for anyone attending a house party of 15 or more people to £800. These fines double for each repeat offence up to a maximum fine of £6,400 and will be introduced from next week.
Staffordshire Police has issued over 1,000 fixed penalty notices to date and officers have attended reports of gatherings and house parties where people are risking not only their own lives but also those of others and are putting extra pressure on an already struggling NHS.
Superintendent Carl Ratcliffe, Head of Partnerships at Staffordshire Police, is leading the operation in the county to stop raves and gatherings taking place.
He said while the majority of people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent were doing their best to follow the rules, there were issues with gatherings and parties and police would work to enforce the rules.
“The regulations for Covid were introduced almost a year ago and we know that lockdown has been tough for everyone, but you must think of others. If you are invited to a house party or gathering don't attend, you are putting yourself and your family at risk. We would rather the public follow the rules than have to resort to issuing FPNs, but if we do get called to a blatant breach, which includes house parties and gatherings, we will look to issue fines to not only the homeowner or organiser, but to all those in attendance.
“This is a critical period for the country as doctors and nurses are under increasing pressure. There is a new more infectious strain of the virus and those who feel they are not at risk should consider how they would feel if they spread the infection to their friends or family.”
He said officers were continuing to gather intelligence to prevent illegal gatherings and raves. He appealed for members of the public to share any information they had and said further arrests were likely.
“I’m urging anyone who is considering gathering for a party or attending an illegal rave to stop and think about the consequences,” Supt Ratcliffe said.
“These unlawful gatherings cannot take place. We have a continuing, dedicated policing operation in place, with a much higher police presence in potential hot spot areas.”
Supt Ratcliffe added: “Please seriously consider the risks and ask yourself if it’s worth it for the sake of family and friends and colleagues.”
“I’m also calling on the public to help us – if you have any intelligence or hear about an event or gathering taking place, please get in touch with us so we can prevent it and ultimately save lives. The key to stopping these events is early intelligence.”
If you suspect a rave/illegal gathering is being set up or there is suspicious activity, contact Staffordshire Police via Facebook or Twitter, call 101 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. The information available using @what3words or @ordnancesurvey will help officers to pinpoint the location.