Fines of up to £10,000 for those organising illegal raves in England will come into force ahead of the bank holiday as authorities clamp down on unlawful gatherings.
Officers have responded to a surge in unlicensed music events in recent weeks amid warm weather and an easing of lockdown restrictions.
Tougher measures targeting those breaching coronavirus regulations on large gatherings will come into effect on Friday, ahead of the August bank holiday weekend.
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.
The Metropolitan Police received information on more than 200 events across London in a single weekend, responding to more than 1,000 illegal events in the capital since the end of June.
Elsewhere, West Midlands Police shut down 125 parties and raves – including one of up to 600 people – in one weekend.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “These gatherings are dangerous and those who organise them show a blatant disregard for the safety of others.
“I am pleased the police have already stepped up their response and I am giving them the tools they need to continue to keep us safe.
“We will continue to crack down on the small minority who think they are above the law.”
Fines for not wearing face coverings where it is mandated are also set to double for repeat offenders from Friday, starting at £100 and doubling to a maximum of £3,200 for each repeat offence.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council has warned that forces in England and Wales will continue to increase patrols heading into the bank holiday weekend.
Areas of concern, such as Leicester and Greater Manchester, have seen deployments larger than on New Year’s Eve, it said.
Commander Ade Adelekan, lead for unlicensed music events, said: “These events are hosted without regard for the safety of those attending, and police have observed cases of anti-social behaviour, sales of drugs and gang activity.
“To the organisers of this sort of activity, I strongly advise that you seriously consider the risks you’re creating for everyone in attendance and the wider community.
“There is a risk of prosecution for those who organise these events and equipment will be seized.”
Published: 23/08/2020 by Radio NewsHub