Suffolk 'not a soft touch for raves'

A SENIOR police officer has rejected a suggestion that Suffolk could be regarded as “soft touch” for illegal raves.Chief Superintendent David McDonnell, head of operations, was speaking after an illegal rave took place in buildings on the former Parham Airfield, near Framlingham, at the weekend.

By David Green

A SENIOR police officer has rejected a suggestion that Suffolk could be regarded as “soft touch” for illegal raves.

Chief Superintendent David McDonnell, head of operations, was speaking after an illegal rave took place in buildings on the former Parham Airfield, near Framlingham, at the weekend.

Two arrests were made - one for drink-driving and the other for a drugs related offence.


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Landowner Michael Gray said he had not known about the rave until 6.30am - four hours after it started.

He added he was unaware that police had taken any tough action - either to prevent the rave or stop it.

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“I think there should be a stronger police response to these events. Otherwise, Suffolk will become known as a soft touch,” he said.

The rave at Parham was the latest in a series which have disturbed rural dwellers in Suffolk over the past few years.

In the worst incident so far, in August last year, more than 500 people congregated at a three-day rave held on a field at Ramsholt, near Woodbridge, and police later admitted they had performed “below standard” and pledged not to let it happen again.

Police say the Parham rave did not cause anything like the disturbance at Ramsholt.

Chief Supt McDonnell said the Suffolk Constabulary took a pro-active approach to deter raves from happening and to respond as rapidly as possible.

“Ultimately, public safety is the primary concern for us. Where officers can prevent, disrupt or stop a rave taking place, we will do everything within our powers to do this, providing that it is in the best interests of all concerned, given the specific circumstances that we are faced with,” he said.

The effective and efficient use of public money had to be considered when policing an isolated incident where few or no complaints had been received.

“However we respond we will be criticised for either an inadequate or a heavy-handed approach to what is often considered to be innocent partying.

“Suffolk is definitely not seen as a soft touch - the intelligence we have from rave organisers is that Suffolk's response to raves is exactly the opposite,” he said.

Chief Supt McDonnell said earlier this month Suffolk Constabulary was asked to lecture at a national conference in Birmingham as an example of good practice in the policing of raves.

“We will seek to identify organisers, make arrests and where necessary seize sound equipment as was the case following the race at Ramsholt last year and a rave that took place in Elveden earlier this year.

“Landowners can play an important part to ensure raves do not take place by obstructing entrances to land and securing outbuildings,” he added.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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