Police promise New Year rave crackdown

Police yesterday promised to get tough with young people holding illegal raves, in a bid to avoid a repeat of the riot in Norwich last New Year's Eve.

Police yesterday promised to get tough with young people holding illegal raves, in a bid to avoid a repeat of the riot in Norwich last New Year's Eve.

The three eastern forces have joined together this year to share intelligence and handling of any rave, and yesterday appealed to land-owners to make sure empty sites are secured before the big night.

Supt Joanne Parrett said: "This year we're going to come down hard on those holding illegal parties.

"Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire suffer from the same type of anti-social behaviour and we're going to work together to ensure there are appropriate resources across all three counties.

"That way we'll be able to deter anyone who wants to make people's lives a misery. There's no excuse for it and it will not be tolerated."

Supt Parrett said the police were expecting there to be a rave over the Christmas and New Year period in Norfolk as there had been one for the last four years, but said no intelligence had yet been received about any concrete plans.

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Last year saw more than 300 ravers hurling stones and street furniture at dozens of police after being moved on from a warehouse near Fifers Lane, Norwich, where organisers were trying to set up an illegal party.

Police surged at the crowd in a bid to restore order using batons and a team of police dogs to make the young people disperse.

But with resources stretched as officers across the county attempted to police the busiest night of the year, they decided to pull out.

The hundreds of revellers then set up at a property on nearby Twickenham Road and partied until mid afternoon on New Year's Day.

Chief Constable Carole Hewlett said there was no direct policy for how a similar situation this year would be handled.

"The senior officer will make the decision on the night," she said.

"Part of that decision-making process will be to assess the risk."

Supt Parrett said the police did not want to be perceived as kill-joys and did not want to prevent the county's youngsters having fun.

But she said litter and noise pollution were not the only problems with illegal parties, there was also a risk to the ravers' health.

"The young people may not know there's a risk to them attending these events but there is and that's one of our concerns," she said. "Raves are often held in unsuitable buildings such as warehouses where dangerous chemicals could be stored."

Police will use intelligence to stop party-goers from reaching the raves before they begin and will confiscate sound equipment.

Landowners are asked to make sure gates are locked, and anyone spotting a large group of vehicles gathering or hearing of an event being planned is asked to contact police as soon as possible.