“Unfortunately, if it happens again, we’re going to have to use enforcement.”
Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling’s message today was a clear one.
If parties pop up this weekend, people will be punished.
Crowds are still flocking to illegal raves despite new local regulations, and Greater Manchester Police have pledged to prosecute culprits if the gatherings continue.
“… we’ve come to a point now where they [the parties] are tying up so much police resource,” DCC Pilling told The Manc.
“We saw more gatherings again last weekend.
“We’re trying to strike a balance between not using prosecution because I don’t want to alienate our communities.
“I don’t want to do that, I genuinely don’t, but that’s the position we’re in.”
New legislation means police can now prosecute anyone found breaking coronavirus guidelines in Manchester – with a current ban imposed on indoor and garden meetings.
“We’re sending a plea really to the great people across Greater Manchester to abide by the new restrictions that have come into place,” said DCC Pilling.
“We understand how difficult it is. But when policing big gatherings, I have to draw a lot of officers. I’d much rather we had police on foot patrol in Wigan, Bolton, Salford and Bury, rather than be in vans ready to respond to big raves and parties.
“I’m worried about the level of resourcing going into this thing.”
There would be “fixed penalties and prosecutions against people” if parties persisted, DCC Pilling warned.
Police are also collaborating with local authorities and licensing officers in order to ensure restaurants and bars adhere to the new regulations.
Extra officers will be ‘out in the nighttime economy’ moving forwards, and any premises found to be ‘blatantly or repeatedly’ breaching the rules will have action taken against them.
“If we don’t get on top of it, this disruption will carry on right through the autumn,” said DCC Pilling.
“It’s been hard for a good few months now. I don’t want us to let ourselves down now.
“Most people are abiding by the rules, but a sizable minority has caused us a problem.
“My appeal to them is to stop it.
“Abide and we’ll beat this thing together.”
‘Significant risk’ of UK gas shortages this winter, regulator warns
Energy regulator Ofgem has warned that the UK faces a ‘significant risk’ of gas shortages this winter.
According to reports in The Times, the regulator has unveiled concerns that the country could face blackouts over the coming months thanks to an undersupply of gas to Europe caused by Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Warning that a “gas supply emergency” could be looming ahead, the energy regulator has said that some gas-fired power plants could see their supplies cut off, which in turn would stop generators from producing electricity.
The alert comes just days before an expected update from the National Grid on the likelihood of countrywide power cuts this winter.
Responsing to arequest from SSE, which owns several gas power stations, Ofgem outlined what is set to be a huge issue of concern given that the UK relies on large gas plants to produce the biggest share of its electricity supply.
The regulator also pointed to rules that could see power plants penalised as a result of shortages, warning of a worst-case scenario that would see the “potential insolvency of gas-fired generators” caused by rules that require plants to pay huge charges if they fail to deliver on promised quotas.
Adding that the issue must be addressed to prevent a “significant impact on the safety and security of the electricity and/or gas systems”, the regulator echoed concerns now widespread in Europe as its comments followed a similar statement made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) this morning.
Europeans are already being told they must lower their thermostats and boilers in preparation in case gas supplies are cut off, with Paris-based agency IEA warning today that the EU must focus on getting underground gas reserve levels to 90% of capacity in case of a complete Russian supply shut-off.
Preparation are already being made in Europe with the German government having approved a set of energy-saving measures for the winter to limit use in public buildings. In France, meanwhile, companies have already been warned they may face energy rationing this winter.
Whilst the UK government is yet to announce any energey saving measures, Ofgem has said that it expect s“this winter to be more challenging than last year” and that it is taking “reasonable regulatory steps to mitigate and reduce the risks”.