Police in England are now – since Friday 21th August – able to fine organisers of illegal gatherings of more than 30 people up to £10,000. This includes raves, but it may also include protests. (If you are a protest organiser threatened with a fine, please contact Netpol). Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can set their own enforcement rules.
This weekend, the BBC reported, police in Birmingham disrupted more than 70 unlicensed social gatherings including house and street parties, one of which featured marquees and a DJ.
In Huddersfield, officers broke up an illegal rave involving about 300 people.
Two police vehicles were damaged and four people arrested after officers broke up a party breaking lockdown rules in Greater Manchester, where restrictions between households continue.
About 50 people were at the gathering at a house, which had a gazebo set up with loud speakers, music equipment and party lights, Greater Manchester Police said.
And in Blackburn, Lancashire, where extra restrictions are also in force, more than 150 people gathered for a rave at a reservoir.
Stricter new measures designed to stop the spread of coronavirus in the North West have been branded “confusing”. Residents in Oldham and parts of Blackburn and Pendle have been told not to socialise with other households. The BBC has more detail. Local council leaders said it was “unclear” how the rule would be implemented and policed and urged the government to issue detailed guidance. The new guidelines were leaked to a local newspaper before the government’s official confirmation on Friday afternoon.
As of 19th August, more businesses were able to re-open in Leicester, including nail bars, tanning salons, spas & outdoor pools. Yet again, new Regulations have been published at the last minute, giving businesses and residents little time to prepare, while the instructions are – yet again – confusing, see thread by LeicesterLive politics correspondent Dan Martin. This change comes after the original Regulations “were reviewed on Monday 17 August” – which can be taken with a pinch of salt, according to Martin. Reviews are legally required of both national and local lockdowns, but to date, neither the public or Parliament has seen any of them.
Emergency coronavirus powers have been used by police in Scotland more than 62,000 times. People living in the most deprived areas were up to 12 times more likely to be given fines. The Scottish Police Authority heard that in the vast majority of cases – 94% – no action was taken.
The CPS has released its fourth review of charges under the lockdown laws. Yet again, every single charge under the Coronavirus Act was found to be unlawful. Another 21 cases under the Health Protection Regulations were also withdrawn, meaning a total of 47 charges have been overturned. This means 13% of charges under the Regulations in July were unlawful. In June it was 6%. Clearly, lessons are not being learned by police or prosecutors.
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