Police in clampdown on unlicensed music events in east London after recent rise, senior officer says

Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA

Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA - Credit: PA

The Met Police’s commander for Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering has warned people that officers are clamping down on unlicensed music events after an upward trend.

Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman, who heads up East Area BCU, spoke to this paper ahead of the end of the second lockdown and a return to the tiered restrictions.

The police chief said: “Coming out of lockdown into tier two, we need to hold our nerve through this period, through the festivities over December, knowing that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

“If we get it wrong over this period, it creates more problems and the north east of course has got some of the highest infection rates in London. So this is a serious issue we need to be looking at.

“I would say we have had more blatant breaches such as unlicensed music events and house parties.

“I am certainly telling my teams to take a less tolerant approach or zero tolerance.

“People should know by now, where you’ve got an event where you’ve got hundreds of people attending, I’m sorry but that’s a huge public health risk.”

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Det Ch Supt Clayman revealed police were called to a number of UMEs last weekend in Barking and Dagenham, including one where hundreds of people attended in Barking.

He said officers will find and shut down these events wherever they happen across the three boroughs.

“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.”

Officers are on Covid patrols every day, including high footfall areas, and this will continue, the police chief said.

But he felt that it is down to people taking personal responsibility to follow the rules.

He added: “We can do so much but it comes down to individuals making the right choices, keeping their heads over the festivities so we don’t get an adverse delayed effect into January that ends up in a potential tier 3 or lockdown scenario.”

He urged anyone who knows about a UME being advertised to call police on 101.