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Illegal Raves

Volume 462: debated on Monday 9 July 2007

I understand that illegal raves have been a problem in East Anglia. Operational decisions on the use of the powers available to deal with them are for the police to take. The Association of Chief Police Officers met on Thursday 5 July and my officials tell me that they are taking forward work nationally to look at intelligence gathering, partnership working and current legislation regarding the issue of illegal raves.

The Minister will be aware that there was a time when raves were generally low-key, good-humoured events. During the past few weeks, there have been a number of illegal raves in my constituency where there has been substantial criminal damage and violence, a great deal of damage to property and the peddling of illegal drugs. The local police are fully stretched and are doing their best, but does he agree that the time has come for records of raves to be centrally recorded? The Government should look again at the powers the police have. Will he consider the matter urgently?

I am not aware of being present at any illegal raves, and I am not sure if the hon. Gentleman has been to any either.

The issue of illegal raves is important; they cause considerable disquiet, distress and law-breaking in many areas of the country, including the hon. Gentleman’s constituency. ACPO has set up a sub-group to look at the issue, and one thing it might consider is whether to take on board the central recording of illegal raves—a point made by the hon. Gentleman. I also point out to him that there are considerable powers available to the police under section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which was amended by the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, to prevent raves from taking place, and to deal with them if they come to pass. I hope that that gives some reassurance to the hon. Gentleman.