COPS across the country have been left hospitalised after breaking up illegal lockdown raves – with one NYE party organiser being fined £10,000.
The public was given a stark warning during tonight’s Downing Street press conference following a shocking rise in the number of officers being harmed during the pandemic.
Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed a tough crackdown on illegal gatherings and announced fresh £800 fines for anyone attending illegal house parties.
Fines can rise up to a total of £6,400 for repeat offenders.
Police chief Martin Hewitt told the briefing that people organising parties were "selfishly putting lies at risk" and police would no longer "waste time trying to reason with them".
He highlighted the problem by revealing particularly shocking incidents, including a New Year’s Eve party which took place near Leighton Buzzard.
Officers were called to the site and found a marquee with a number of tables and chairs, a small dance floor and four speakers.
The organiser was spoken to and given words of advice, but when officers returned later they found around 50 people in attendance.
Although no officers were injured, cops have now issued the organiser of the illegal bash a £10,000 fine for breaching coronavirus rules.
Other incidents include a 40-strong house party in Brick Lane, East London, and 150 people at a party in Hertfordshire.
Officers were injured in both operations.
In Leighton Buzzard, officers were called to the site that had been set up for a large party where they had a dancefloor and speakers."
Mr Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, told the briefing: “To illustrate what we’re having to deal with across the country, let me give some recent examples.
“So last week in Brick Lane in London, following reports from neighbours, officers attended a house party where there were more than 40 people cramped indoors.
“Those people were hostile to the police, three officers were injured and one actually required hospital treatment and they also found drugs on the premises.
“In that case, arrests were made and fines were issued.
“A house party in Hertfordshire with over 150 people attending was stopped.
“They had music equipment, mixing decks, amplifiers – all being used by the organisers.
I hope that the likelihood of an increased fine acts as a disincentive for those people who are thinking of attending or organising such events."
“Multiple fines were given in that example, equipment was seized and sadly, again, another officer was injured in dealing with that issue.
“In a slightly different sense, an officer who took part in an operation in Bournemouth policing an anti-lockdown protest, has since contracted the disease and had to be admitted to hospital.
“Now while that infection can’t be directly linked to that event, I think what it does do is put into perspective the dangerous nature of policing, even with the adequate PPE that we provide to our staff, this is risky.
“In Leighton Buzzard, officers were called to the site that had been set up for a large party where they had a dancefloor and speakers.
“As part of our engage, explain and encourage approach, the organiser was given words of advice and told that that event must not take place.
“But when officers checked later in the day, 50 people were there, again, a £10,000 fine was issued.
“These are just a few examples where our officers are not only exposing themselves to the risks of Covid but in some cases are also facing abuse and physical assault from those who are wilfully breaching the regulations and endangering all of those present.”
He added: “I hope that the likelihood of an increased fine acts as a disincentive for those people who are thinking of attending or organising such events.”
He said officers will not “waste time” trying to reason with people breaking the rules in such a way.
He said: “When we see people that are putting themselves and others in danger, we will not waste time trying to reason with them.
“They are demonstrating no regard for the safety of others, or even for themselves.”
Mr Hewitt said official figures will be released next week showing how many fines have been given out since the start of this latest national lockdown.
He told the Downing Street briefing: “Forces are telling us there has been a significant increase, and that’s reflecting the fact that we’ve had more officers out on dedicated patrols taking targeted action against those small few who are letting everybody down.”
Mr Hewitt said since regulations were introduced in late August, and up to January 17, there have been 250 fixed penalty notices issued by forces in England to people who have organised a large gathering.
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