The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Met Police Shared False Illegal Rave Statistics During Lockdown
Christian Eede , August 26th, 2021 18:39

An investigation by Mixmag has found that the organisation misled the press and public, possibly to justify the use of emergency police powers

The Metropolitan Police falsely reported statistics around the number of illegal raves that took place in London during lockdown, an investigation by journalist Wil Crisp for Mixmag has found.

Crisp's report, pieced together with the use of Freedom of Information requests, found that the police service was using a flawed method to collate illegal rave figures, and subsequently sharing inaccurate statistics with the press and public. Crisp discovered that rather than relating to individual raves and other illegal events, the reported figures were instead based on the number of messages received about illegal parties on a "computer aided dispatch" system. A single event could therefore have been counted many times over in the published numbers, and subsequently reported as multiple events.

The investigation also found that some of the messages could have been received in error, and simply notified police of a legitimate event rather than an illegal party. As Crisp points out, the reporting of these statistics was crucial as an August 2020 report by The Telegraph quoted Home Secretary Priti Patel as saying police had responded to more than 1,000 unlicensed events in London since the end of June, with more than 200 of those reports coming in across a single weekend.

These figures would have been inaccurate, and may have ultimately been used by Patel to justify the introduction of greater emergency police powers amid last year's COVID-19 lockdowns. The misleading numbers were subsequently shared across a number of national media outlets including Sky News, The Times and The Independent as a result of Patel's statement to The Telegraph.

A spokesperson for The Met has since issued an apology to Mixmag, but has declined to reveal the true statistics of illegal raves that took place last year amid lockdown.