The police have issued a statement as to why they didn’t put a stop to the two illegal raves in Greater Manchester this weekend, which saw thousands of people gathering.
A senior Greater Manchester Police officer has denied that the force was understaffed for the incidents, where over 6,000 people gathered across two illegal raves in Oldham and Trafford.
The rave in Carrington had around 2,000 people gathered and reportedly saw three separate stabbings and a rape.
At the same time in Daisy Nook, Oldham, there were 4,000 rave-goers in a large field, and a man sadly died from a suspected drug overdose.
Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes admitted that there had been no warning of a rave taking place in Oldham, and says the scale and size of the two incidents ‘came on us really quickly’.
The police ‘carefully monitored’ the gatherings, a decision Mr Sykes defended, saying the police needed to strike the right balance of ‘proportionality and fairness with our overall Coronavirus response’.
Officers intervened at the rave at Carrington when they were alerted to a stabbing, which has left an 18-year-old man with life-threatening injuries.
He received life-saving first aid from the police officers before the paramedics arrived, rushing him to hospital where he now is recovering.
Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes explained that there are a number of complexities in dealing with large crowds.
He said: “When you’re dealing with large crowds the police moving into those crowds is always a very delicate situation.
“The overriding principle is that we’re trying to keep people safe and we get asked quite a lot ‘why don’t you move in and disperse everybody?’. The biggest concern we often have is that if we don’t get the proportionate police action correct then other people can get hurt.
“So that assessment was about the fact that we had reports of someone injured when we moved in and actually gave first aid.
“Thankfully that person is recovering in hospital now and is speaking to the police about what happened.”
Many MPs, including Angela Rayner and Kate Green MP for Stretford and Urmston, linked the prevention of the event to lack of police officers.
The force’s staffing levels have fallen by a third over the last decade. Ms Green said: “That’s one of the reasons this was so irresponsible.
“Police are very stretched, all emergency services are and they could not have safely prevented the event.”
She added: “I think it’s an operational decision by the senior officers on the ground as to the best way to handle the incident but I’m certainly concerned that the police did not have sufficient resources to be able to prevent it.”
Ashton-under-Lyne MP Angela Rayner said: “The devastating cuts to the police by the Tory Government mean that our hardworking and dedicated local police forces simply don’t have the resources to deal with spikes in incidents like we saw this weekend.”
ACC Sykes cited a 60 per cent increase in 999 calls to GMP overnight – with 1,516 made between 5pm on Saturday and 4am on Sunday morning. He has since denied that the force was understaffed and overwhelmed by the two gatherings.
He said: “Last night really felt like a busy evening in Greater Manchester.
“We have the resources. The events earlier in the day didn’t impact negatively on the resources that we had.
“We dealt with these incidents with the resources that we had to the very best of our ability considering the proportionate nature of the way that we work. We always have to work with people. We have to work with the communities. It’s about a proportionate response from police.”
GMP Facebook shared a poster which stated that ‘any person found at the RAVE or walking to the location will be challenged and directed out of the area.’
When asked why officers didn’t stop people gathering at either Daisy Nook or Carrington, ACC Sykes said: “It’s not about what we allow, it’s about how we respond to things that take place.
“The events up at Oldham – there was some information about a gathering taking place and there was a neighbourhood operation in place to try and gather intelligence and try and understand where it was and be able to respond where we could.
“The location of that changed and the scale of it changed very much from the intelligence that we had. Then as it developed we have to try and deal with it in as proportionate a way as we possibly can, considering our duty to keep people safe but also the complexity of dealing with large crowds moving into an area.
“The one down at Carrington we didn’t have intelligence well in advance of that one at all. That one came onto us quite quickly yesterday afternoon and into the evening.”
A 20-year-old man died from a suspected drug overdose following the gathering in Daisy Nook, police say he collapsed on the way home.
An 18-year-old woman who was raped in the rave at Carrington is being supported by specialist officers.
There were also three separate reported stabbings in Carrington. A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon.
No further arrests have been made yet.
‘Inspirational’ teacher with no underlying health conditions sadly dies from coronavirus
RIP Donna Coleman
A 42-year-old teacher with no underlying health conditions has sadly died from coronavirus.
Donna Coleman, described as an ‘inspirational’ teacher, returned to her role at Burnley College when schools reopened even though she told her family she was ‘scared’.
Mourners lined the streets this week to pay their respects to the much-loved teacher, with tributes pouring in. One emotional message simply read: “This lady changed my son’s life.”
Donna admitted to her family that she ‘didn’t feel safe’, but she wanted to go back to the job ‘she loved’.
Now her sister Vicki, 45, has called for teachers to be given vaccine priority to protect them, telling the Mirror that the government needs to do more to help keep them safe.
She said: “We need teachers to be vaccinated as soon as possible… Donna told me in September that she was scared.
“Don’t get me wrong, she wanted to go back – she loved her job – but she said staff members were terrified.”
After she began to suffer from breathing problems on December 29th, Donna was rushed into Blackburn Royal Hospital, where she messaged Vicki on New Year’s Day.
She promised to FaceTime her sister the next day, but didn’t manage the call, as by this point she was already on a ventilator despite having no underlying conditions.
Vicki added: “She had messaged friends asking them to look after her family, so she must have been scared.
“My dad and sister went to see her and came back home looking shocked, saying, ‘she’s not coming out of this.’
“I went the next day, I held her hand, I said goodbye. That wasn’t Donna, she wasn’t there, she’d gone.”
Sadly, Vicki says she doesn’t think ‘we’d be having this conversation’ if schools and colleges had closed earlier.
A JustGiving page has been created in Donna’s memory, and has already smashed its target of £1,000, having raised more than £10.5k at the time of writing – you can donate here.
Our thoughts are with Donna’s family at this difficult time
Police to issue £800 fines to anyone attending house parties of more than 15 people
“Next week we will be introducing a new £800 fine for those attending house parties”
From next week anyone attending an illegal gathering of more than 15 people risks being hit with a £800 fine.
Priti Patel has given police the power to dish out new £800 fines to anyone who either organises or attends a large house party or other gathering.
The home secretary announced the new measures yesterday at a Downing Street press conference, with the fines going up to a maximum of £6,400 for repeat offences.
She said: “Next week we will be introducing a new £800 fine for those attending house parties, which will double for each repeat offence up to a maximum level of £6,400.
“These fines will apply to those who attend illegal gatherings of more than 15 people in homes.
“The science is clear. Such irresponsible behaviour poses a significant risk to public health, not only to those in attendance but also to our wonderful police officers who attend these events to shut them down.”
Martin Hewitt, the chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, also spoke at the press conference, where he said the new announcement was welcome news.
He said: “We have repeatedly made it clear that house parties and other large gatherings should not be happening.
“They are dangerous, irresponsible and totally unacceptable.
“I hope the likelihood of an increased fine acts as an incentive for those people who are thinking of attending or organising such events.”
According to Mr Hewitt, 250 fines of £10,000 have been dished out across England to people who have organised large gatherings since August.
He added: “I make no apology for those fines… Now anyone who attends one of these gatherings can expect to receive a £800 fine”.
Mum-of-two raffles off stunning £600k five-bedroom house and Ferrari for just £2
Wait until you see inside the stunning house
After spending nearly a year locked down in our homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all thought about moving house at some point, just for a change of scenery.
Well, if you are thinking about moving somewhere a bit bigger, then we’ve got just the thing for you – a stunning £590,000 bespoke five-bedroom house.
And in even better news, you could grab this beautiful house for just £2, as owners Jennifer and David Matthews are raffling off the property, and are throwing in their Ferrari as well.
The couple built Bramble Lodge – which is located between Bolton and Chorley, near to Adlington – from scratch eight years ago, but now want to sell up and move on.
They came to the difficult decision of selling their ‘dream home’ as they need a more manageable property to clean and run, because of Jennifer’s health condition.
Known as Ventricular tachycardia, it’s an incurable heart condition that causes a fast, abnormal heart rate, and means the mum-of-two could die at any moment.
However, the coronavirus crisis has made it very difficult to sell the property, which is why they decided to try their luck on popular raffle site Raffall.
This is good news for anyone dreaming of moving into a huge, new family home, as the keys to the five-bedroom detached house – which is worth over half a million and is located in a sought-after postcode – could be yours for as little as £2.
Bramble Lodge is set in its own grounds, hidden away behind a dry stone wall with electric gates for maximum privacy and security, and surrounded by stunning gardens, complete with trees and even a swing.
There’s lots of parking space, with the large drive able to accommodate four cars, which will include the 2004 Ferrari 360 Spider that you claim alongside the house if you win.
Once inside, there are three beautiful reception rooms and a huge kitchen area with a breakfast bar and an even an Aga.
Head up the elegant spiral staircase to five double sized bedrooms, including one with an en-suite and slipper bath. The second bedroom has a stunning feature window with the staircase to the kitchen area.
The area – once home to Ryan Giggs – boasts outstanding primary schools, a nearby train station with trains to Manchester, has good motorway links, and is also close to the award-winning The Cherry Tree at Blackrod.
The Matthews need to sell all the tickets on Raffall by February 14th, or the raffle will end before that if the last ticket sells before that date.
The lucky winner will be chosen at random, so make sure you grab your ticket or tickets ASAP, as they’re sure to sell quickly.
You can find out more and grab a ticket on the Raffall site here – good luck!