Can illegal raves be policed effectively? Professor Stuart Lister discusses in 'Wired' article

Professor Lister, Professor of Policing and Criminal Justice in the School of Law, comments upon the complex nature of policing illegal raves in recent 'Wired' article.

Illegal raves have become increasingly common in the UK as coronavirus lockdown measures ease, and there are various reasons why policing these events proves challenging for police forces. Professor Lister explains “these events can be very difficult to prevent, as information about their precise time and location can now be shared almost instantaneously among large numbers of people and very shortly before an event is due to take place. This means it can be very difficult for the police to gain intelligence upstream of events and to prevent them from happening”.

The article acknowledges that while the police have invested money into monitoring social media, intelligence gathering tends to be restricted to high-harm areas such as counterterrorism or serious organised crime groups. 

In an attempt to prevent similar events from occurring, police have appealed to parents to pass on information to the authorities about future raves. In the past police have resorted to setting up roadblocks on the roads surrounding the site of the rave. Professor Lister says “this can be effective for preventing access to a site via the road, but this doesn’t account for those accessing the rave by foot”.

Professor Lister goes onto explain that “once those raves are up and running, when there are potentially thousands of people in attendance, those parties can be incredibly difficult to shut down”.

Read the full ‘Wired’ article.