East London council pledges a zero-tolerance approach to illegal gatherings during the pandemic
Barking and Dagenham Council in east London has vowed to take a zero-tolerance approach to people who show disregard for resident safety by thinking they can hold illegal gatherings in the borough.
The pledge comes after council officers and police closed an illegal party with upwards of 260 people in Broad Street, Dagenham on the night of Friday, 31 August.
Council officers were notified about the event at 21.00 hours and got to the scene at exactly 30 minutes later and immediately issued an enforcement abatement notice requiring the music to stop. Officers then ensured the DJ packed up and left with only the patrons remaining.
A total of just over 25 penalty charge notices were issued for cars parked wrongly, blocking resident’s homes as police and council officers worked tirelessly to disperse the crowd.
Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety, reacting to the incident, said: “I would like to commend the officers and police for their prompt response to what was an illegal event and a totally irresponsible thing to do.
“Most especially during the lockdown period when people are social distancing and we are doing the best to keep residents safe, we are determined that such events can’t and will not be allowed anywhere in our borough.
“This irresponsible act is not only a breach of COVID-19 guidelines, it is a public health risk and an illegal gathering, and we are determined to come down hard on anyone responsible.”
BCU Commander Stephen Clayman, said: “We remain in a public health crisis and these unlicensed events are both illegal and dangerous. We have a role to keep our communities safe and we will continue to work closely with the council to ensure we respond to the concerns raised by local residents. Police officers and council staff often have to put themselves at risk and demonstrate professionalism, courage and dedication to disrupt these events and protection of the public is always at the heart of our approach.
If you hear of an event taking place, please call 101 straight away and let us know – we will assess and deal with it.”
Council officers imposed a voluntary closure on the event organiser and listed a number of offences committed and action to be taken against them.
All those at the event were dispersed by 11.30pm with officers reassuring residents who came out to speak with them.
On Saturday, another illegal rave took place in a disused warehouse close to Lodge Avenue flyover, which was attended by police and council officers. Two arrests were made, and the crowd dispersed with no incidents.
Police and council officers attended the site on Sunday afternoon to assess the site and make contact with the land owners.