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Rave Bill Limits Numbers

As part of the Anti-Social Behaviour bill, the House of Lords in October 2003 passed an ammendment to the Criminal Justice Bill which does the following:

  • reduces the legal definition of a “rave” to be 20, not 100 people
  • makes indoor raves illegal
  • stops organisers moving on to second sites.

Adding to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 with this bill they cite in particular Huntingdon ‘Life’ Sciences activism and rave culture aiming “to ensure that it is no longer commercially viable to organise an unlicensed rave. It should be noted that, for the organisers, raves have been highly profitable events. When speaking to young people who have attended them, many believe that they were badly ripped off. They may have had a good time at a rave, but they certainly paid for it.” ( Baroness Scotland of Asshole 7th Oct 2003 , Hansard) !!

The details are as following:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 200ZA:

After Clause 59, insert the following new clause?
“RAVES
(1) Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (c. 33) (powers in relation to raves) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (1) for “100” substitute “20”.
(3) After subsection (1) insert?
“(1A) This section also applies to a gathering if?
(a) it is a gathering on land of 20 or more persons who are trespassing on the land; and
(a) it would be a gathering of a kind mentioned in subsection (1) above if it took place on land in the open air.”
(4) In subsection (2) omit “in the open air”.
(5) In subsection (7) for “this section” substitute “subsection (6) above”.
(6) After subsection (7) insert?
“(7A) A person commits an offence if?

7 Oct 2003 : Column 264

(a) he knows that a direction under subsection (2) above has been given which applies to him, and
(b) he makes preparations for or attends a gathering to which this section applies within the period of 24 hours starting when the direction was given.
(7B) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (7A) above is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or both.””

The noble Lord said: I thank the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, for raising the issue of raves. He, like me, during our many years in local government, probably experienced the unpleasant side effects of raves?in our postbags and on our telephones at weekends?from members of the public, who were understandably and properly complaining about them and the anti-social behaviour which can arise.

We all know that raves can disrupt the peace and tranquillity of many local communities, in particular during the spring and summer months. I could regale noble Lords with certain unpleasant experiences during my time as leader of my local authority. Because of the hour I shall not do so. However, it should be understood that the Government understand the impact of raves on local communities and we are keen to deal with the problem. We are also grateful that that keenness to act is shared across the Committee.

I recognise that the effect of raves is not limited to the duration of the event itself. These gatherings can bring noise nuisance and traffic congestion on small, wholly unsuited roads. Rubbish may be deposited in often very attractive surroundings.

The legislation relating to raves goes back to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. It was introduced as a response to what the government of the day saw as the growing phenomenon of the rave and the difficulties that this type of unstructured event were likely to cause. Since the introduction of that legislation, we know that the tactics of rave organisers have changed and we recognise the need for the legislation to be updated. In my experience, rave organisers are clever and use the best of modern technology, in particular the mobile phone, to make their arrangements. It is therefore necessary to disrupt those tactics and, in essence, that is what this proposed legislation seeks to do.

The issues relating to raves were raised during the Commons stage of the Bill. Further, it is a matter often raised by members of the public in correspondence. We are pleased to have this opportunity to table amendments in this Bill to Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Raves have been organised in buildings such as barns and disused warehouses. In the past the police have been powerless to act as the current legislation applies only to land in the open air. We therefore propose to extend the legislative powers to include indoor trespassory raves.

Rave organisers have been restricting the number at events to below 100 people in order to frustrate the operation of current legislation, so we propose to amend it to include indoor and outdoor events where

7 Oct 2003 : Column 265

20 or more people are present. This aims to ensure that it is no longer commercially viable to organise an unlicensed rave. It should be noted that, for the organisers, raves have been highly profitable events. When speaking to young people who have attended them, many believe that they were badly ripped off. They may have had a good time at a rave, but they certainly paid for it.

Finally, the police have reported many occasions where rave organisers who have been given a direction to leave have simply moved to another area?a fallback position?to set up another rave. Again, I came across that problem during my time in local government. We propose to make it an offence for a person on whom a direction has been served to attend another trespassory rave within 24 hours of the direction being given.

The proposals will not be perfect and catch every event, but we think that most of the events that in the past have led to problems should be curtailed. The Government believe that these amendments will strengthen the current powers so that the police can provide relief to communities. They will be warmly welcomed by the Association of Chief Police Officers and, no doubt, by officers working on the ground.

I hope that the noble Lord opposite will welcome these government amendments and that, in the circumstances, he will not feel the need to press his own amendments. I beg to move.

Part 8
Public order and trespass
62 Public assemblies
In section 16 of the Public Order Act 1986 (c. 64) (which defines ?public
assembly? for the purposes of the power in section 14 of that Act to impose 5
conditions on public assemblies), in the definition of ?public assembly? for ?20?
substitute ?2?.
63 Bookmark: j6666Raves
(1) Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (c. 33) (powers in
relation to raves) is amended as follows. 10
(2) In subsection (1) for ?100? substitute ?20?.
(3) After subsection (1) insert?
?(1A) This section also applies to a gathering if?
(a) it is a gathering on land of 20 or more persons who are
trespassing on the land; and 15
(b) it would be a gathering of a kind mentioned in subsection (1)
above if it took place on land in the open air.?
(4) In subsection (2) omit ?in the open air?.
(5) In subsection (7) for ?this section? substitute ?subsection (6) above?.
(6) After subsection (7) insert? 20
?(7A) A person commits an offence if?
(a) he knows that a direction under subsection (2) above has been
given which applies to him, and
(b) he makes preparations for or attends a gathering to which this
section applies within the period of 24 hours starting when the 25
direction was given.
(7B) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (7A) above is liable on
summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three
months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or both.?
64 Bookmark: JNC21Aggravated trespass 30
(1) The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (c. 33) is amended as follows.
(2) In section 68 (offence of aggravated trespass), in subsection (1) (which defines
the offence by reference to trespass on land in the open air and lawful activity
on land in the open air) omit ?in the open air? in both places where those words
appear. 35
(3) In section 69 (powers to remove persons committing or participating in
aggravated trespass), in subsection (1) (which confers the power by reference
to trespass on land in the open air) omit ?in the open air? in both places where
those words appear.

As part of the Anti-Social Behaviour bill, the House of Lords in October 2003 passed an ammendment to the Criminal Justice Act which does the following:

* Reduces the legal definition of a “rave” to be 20, not 100 people

* makes indoor raves illegal

* stops organisers moving on to second sites.

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