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.
Bonfire Night, Christmas lights switch-on and NYE fireworks cancelled in Manchester
Some of the biggest festive events in Manchester have been cancelled, in some sad news this afternoon.
The council has scrapped its official Bonfire Night displays, as well as the city centre’s Christmas lights switch-on and the New Year’s Eve fireworks.
With coronavirus still affecting our everyday lives, it was always likely this could be the case, especially considering Manchester has overtaken Bolton as the worst affected hotspot in our region.
However, there is still a glimmer of light, as it’s also been revealed there’s hope the Manchester Christmas Markets might still return to our streets this year.
The event remains ‘under review’, as the council works out whether they can safely go ahead.
Some parts of the event have already been given the green light to return, like the ice rink in Cathedral Gardens, which will be open from November 7th to January 3rd as things stand – with a larger rink and reduced capacity so people can social distance.
And Christmas lights will still be put up around Manchester, even though there’s no switch-on ceremony.
The giant LED Santa – who appeared in Piccadilly Gardens for the first time last year – will also be back, accompanied by a trail of light sculptures throughout the city.
Councilor Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “Christmas in Manchester is an incredibly important time for the city’s economy.
“The city attracts millions of visitors each year, which local businesses rely on – and it’s important to the city’s recovery that we can bring people back into the city safely.
“Covid means that Christmas will be different this year, but we are working hard towards celebrating the festive season as safely as possible. So watch this space.”
However, the council has made it clear that all events are subject to coronavirus restriction updates at both a local and national level.
Manchester bars launch #CancelTheCurfew campaign to end ‘disastrous’ 10pm curfew
Everything you need to know about the campaign…
A new campaign, launched by the hospitality industry in Manchester, is calling for the government to scrap the 10pm curfew in a bid to save the industry.
Hospitality professionals from around the country have grouped together to help launch the #CancelTheCurfew campaign.
It’s been designed to raise awareness to consumers about the impact the 10pm curfew is having on the industry, and with hopes that the government make a U-turn on their policy.
The curfew is a devastating blow to the hospitality industry that reopened just 12 weeks ago to the public, after being closed throughout lockdown.
The curfew means some businesses are losing multiple hours of trade a day, including over 40 hours a week in some of those worst hit.
Tom Lord, founder of Hospitality Gin and hospitality consultant, says: “The industry that we love is in grave danger of being suffocated by this curfew. Some venues were starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel before it was announced as customers returned and we all settled into ‘the new normal’. Now we’ve been plunged back into uncertainty.
“We want the British public to know the impact that the curfew is going to have, not just on our businesses, but on our friends and colleagues. We have borne the brunt of the measures announced over the past fortnight.
“We are vilified as breeding grounds for the virus, yet Public Health England’s own figures show this is not true. In fact, the latest figures show that we have one of the lowest infection rates outside of the home.
“Hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs as a direct result of this disastrous policy, thousands of businesses will close their doors forever, and the hospitality industry will never be the same again. Stop blaming hospitality, let us serve”
In an Instagram post, @cancelthecurfew wrote: “The UK Hospitality Sector directly employs 10% of the working population and contributes £39 Billion in tax revenue.
“The newest legislation and government advice is paralysing our industry and we must be heard; as a unified voice, to protect what we have left and what our futures might hold for us.
“You can show your support by using the hashtag #cancelthecurfew and by signing our Google sheet document. We hope to raise awareness of our cause and get to those who make these decisions before it’s too late.”
The movement started this week on social media, with the explanation that the worst hit venues are reporting a more than 60% drop in revenue since the curfew has been imposed.
Adding to that, they said: “Latest figures from PHE show that only 3% of transmissions outside of the home are from the hospitality sector.”
Mojo’s Manchester has also now banned the MPs from their bars until the curfew is changed.
Michael Greenhow of Mojo said: “With neither evidence to support the assumption that hospitality is driving infection – only 35 cases reported in the sector and as of yet no sign of the threatened dramatic upturn in deaths, the move to curtail the operational hours of our already crippled industry seems unjust and punitive, not to mention illogical and irrational.
“Are people more infectious after 10pm? Hospitality has slaved to work responsibly within the constraints laid out for us and now we are being thrown aside with scant concern for the impact these measures will have on our businesses and the wider economy.”
The movement begun this week by asking hospitality leaders, operators, employees, and anyone with a love for the hospitality industry to share the #CancelTheCurfew images on social media.
They are then following this up with a silent protest and social media ‘thunderclap’ at 10pm this Saturday, October 3rd, with venues and workers all over the country standing outside their venues and posting images of this on their social media.
You can show your support by signing the contact form here, and there’s also a petition in the pipeline pending approval from government.
‘Hero’ Asda worker pays for customer’s shopping after he forgot his card
What a top bloke!
An Asda worker that paid for a shopper’s food after he forgot his debit card has been hailed a ‘hero’.
Alex works at the Omagh branch of Asda in Northern Ireland, and has been hailed a hero on the internet after he footed the bill for a customer who forgot his wallet.
Asda shared the news on their Facebook page, writing: “A big well done to our colleague Alex who went out of his way to help a customer at our Omagh store who’d realised he’d forgotten his debit card when he went to pay for his shopping just as the store was closing.
“Rather than leaving the customer stuck, kind-hearted Alex went ahead and paid for the shopping himself.”
Alex said: “I just didn’t want to leave the customer stuck. It was very late at night, and I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone!”
His store manager added: “This is just one example of Alex going the extra mile for our customers.
“Not many would trust that the person would come back to pay for their goods, but Alex did as he didn’t want to see them stuck.
“He’s a very caring member of our team, and I think he has a very bright future here.”
Facebook users have congratulated Alex, one saying ‘What a top block. Give the guy a medal”.
Another added: “Well done young man I bet your parents are really proud, they have every reason to be.”
A third wrote: “Well done Alex, not many would have been so kind. So glad your store manager applauded you on your kindness to one of its customers.”
Well done Alex!