Bath rave: Chief Constable defends police officers’ action

The illegal rave near Bath
Image caption Police formed a ring around the site to prevent more people gathering at the airfield

Police officers were not “sitting on their own hands” over a huge illegal rave near Bath, Avon and Somerset’s Chief Constable has insisted.

Andy Marsh said criticising his force over the one weekend operation did a “gross disservice” to dedicated staff.

He said: “In no way would it have been practical for officers to walk up and say the party’s finished.”

On Facebook earlier, he added police stopped two other weekend raves in Exmoor and Frome.

‘Only get lucky once’

“We’re seeing an urge for people to gather, play music, party. It’s bubbling into the unlicensed domain,” he said. 

“We aren’t sitting on our hands. We have a 24-seven-365 intelligence capability that monitors social media to try to understand where these events might happen. 

“The people organising them only need to get lucky once, and they’re very determined to have their nights. 

“However many dedicated people we have on it’s pretty unlikely, unless we’re very fortunate, that we’re going to be where the problem is.” 

Image caption Avon and Somerset Police closed the event down at 4pm on Sunday

Mr Marsh said it was “dark and wet” when his officers attended the former RAF base on Saturday night, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Many of the partygoers he said were drunk or on drugs and “simply wouldn’t have allowed” police to close the rave down.

“We seized a number of vehicles. It’s important we have the last laugh in terms of enforcement.

“We seized vehicles, we arrested a person,” said Mr Marsh. 

‘Cut through fencing’

Wessex Water owns some of the land at Charmy Down.

A company spokesman said: “People attending the rave forced entry by cutting through fencing and a locked gate.

“They also forced entry at three other locations, separate from our fencing and not within our ownership.

“We are currently working with local residents, our tenant farmers and the police to consider what can be done to further improve security on the land.”

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