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Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes, said: “We are aware of two large raves that took place in Carrington and Oldham last night (Saturday 13 June 2020). These raves were illegal and I condemn them taking place - they were clearly a breach of Coronavirus legislation and guidelines, and have had tragic consequences.
“The gatherings were carefully monitored by officers but, like all forces, we needed to balance the present public health emergency and our overall demand with ongoing incidents, which can often provide a set of unique challenges when it comes to wider public safety. We also have to ensure that we strike the right balance of proportionality and fairness with our overall Coronavirus response.
“We have experienced a surge in emergency calls this weekend with more than a 60% increase in demand via 999 calls from 5pm yesterday to 4am this morning. We expect to receive around 1,011 emergency 999 calls between those hours usually but received 1,516 this weekend.
“The demand from 101 calls also increased with 526 calls received between 11pm last night through to 4am this morning. We usually expect approximately 271 of those 101 calls. This also doesn’t account for reports made via our website or LiveChat facility so clearly the demand on Greater Manchester Police this weekend has been significant and continues to be.
“In Oldham there are believed to have been around 4,000 people at the peak of the gathering. Whilst that’s a significant number, there were no reported incidents of further crime but sadly a 20-year-old man passed away from a suspected drug overdose following the gathering and we have specialist officers supporting his family at this time.
“In Carrington there are believed to have been around 2,000 people at the peak of the gathering. Unfortunately there were a number of serious incidents at this gathering and after careful assessment, officers were deployed to the scene. There were three separate reported stabbings, including one where an 18-year-old man was left with life threatening injuries. Police officers managed to safely enter the crowds, locate the man and administer life-saving first aid before paramedics arrived. There is no doubt in my mind that the actions of those officers provided essential treatment to the man now in hospital and I would like to thank them for their efforts.
“Two other men – aged 25 and 26 – were also left with injuries after these separate assaults. A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and enquiries remain ongoing to locate the suspects involved in these incidents. I would also ask anyone with footage that could assist our enquiries to send them to [email protected] so that our team can review it.
“We are also investigating the rape of an 18-year-old woman who attended this event and we have specialist officers supporting her and her family whilst enquiries are ongoing to trace the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to contact police as soon as possible.
“Sadly, officers attempting to engage with participants of this gathering were met with violence, resulting in items being thrown and a police car being vandalised. I want to make it clear that this is absolutely not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Our officers are working incredibly hard to keep people safe and should never be met with inexcusable violence whilst carrying out their duties.
“We are currently working alongside partners across Greater Manchester and are engaging with local authorities in order to seek further preventative measures and address concerns of our communities during this pandemic. We are keen to come up with solutions that meet the needs of the community. I also want to thank those community members that have come out to clean the areas alongside police and members of the local authorities this morning, your support goes a long way.
“Our top priority will always be the safety of the public, who we are here to serve and protect. We hope the public can recognise the challenges we are facing at the moment and our communities join together in doing the right thing by following the government guidelines. Coronavirus is still a threat and we will continue to engage with people to encourage them to take some personal responsibility and do the right thing. Ultimately we need the people of Greater Manchester to join together and demonstrate the spirit that they have previously shown in the face of hard times.”