A SENIOR police officer says an operation to prevent illegal raves is continuing across Staffordshire after 18 arrests were made in the last month.
Chief Superintendent Carl Ratcliffe, Head of Contact and Response at Staffordshire Police, is leading the operation.
He said officers were continuing to gather intelligence to prevent illegal raves. He appealed for members of the public to share any information they had and said further arrests were likely.
On June 20, officers made 13 arrests in connection with a planned rave near Chasewater and three more arrests were made in relation to a planned rave near Rugeley the following weekend.
On the weekend of June 13 a rave was stopped near Lichfield where 1,000 people had attended.
“I’m urging anyone who is considering attending an illegal rave to stop and think about the consequences,” Chief Supt Ratcliffe said.
“I understand that lockdown is being eased but these unlawful gatherings cannot take place. We are aware that there are possible further illegal raves being organised in Staffordshire. We have a continuing, dedicated policing operation in place, with a much higher police presence in potential hot spot areas.”
Chief Supt Ratcliffe said coronavirus continued to be a major risk, but urged people not to attend the events as they are illegal and unsafe.
“We will intervene in incidents and seek to prosecute anyone who has taken part in any illegal activity – whether that be drug supply or public disorder and any violence.”
“I would also like to send a really clear message to organisers of illegal raves – we will deal with you robustly and you will be arrested.
“Please seriously consider the risks and ask yourself if it’s worth it,” he added.
“We want to warn young people of the significant risks posed by such events and keep our communities safe. To those thinking about attending such events - you could face enforcement action and receive a criminal record. Do not go to illegal raves and risk your lives.”
“I’m also calling on the public to help us – if you have any intelligence or hear about an event 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.