The last few weeks has seen a rise in illegal parties, also known as Unlicensed Music Events (UMEs), taking place in Barking and Dagenham and the council and police are asking residents to help put a stop to them.
UMEs are against the law at the best of times, but even more so in the world we’re currently living in, where everyone should be social distancing and limiting the number of people they see.
Over the last month, the police and council enforcement officers have had to shut down a number of illegal parties, including a couple where hundreds of people were in attendance.
Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety said: “Coronavirus is very much still here and our borough unfortunately has one of the higher infection rates in London.
“These illegal gatherings should not be happening, and we all need to work together to put a stop to them and protect people’s lives.
“I’m encouraging all residents to question family members, especially their children, on where they are going in the evenings and encourage them to stay home where possible, and to also report anything they hear to the police.”
Information on UMEs is often passed around via Whatsapp and social media to keep the parties undercover from the council and police, so residents are being encouraged to report anything they hear to the police via their website.
Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman, who heads up East Area BCU said: “We’ve had more (UMEs) recently and we’re going to clamp down and we have the assets to close them down – which is what we do.
“I’m not a killjoy but we’re just trying to keep this pandemic under control and save people’s lives. It’s as simple as that.
“People should know by now that if you mix with hundreds of people in a UME you’re going to put yourself and others at risk.”