On Saturday, 8 April an illegal rave was held in Belhus woods in Thurrock. I lodged a complaint with Essex Police and today have spoken with Inspector Kevin Whipps. We discussed the matter at length and he gave me a full explanation as to why the illegal rave continued through the night.
A member of the public alerted Essex Police at around 9.30pm that a large group of people were heading towards Belhus woods and some appeared to be carrying items. Police attended the scene and there were about 300 people in attendance. However,at that time no music was being played. The music started at around 11pm.
Essex Police received the first call about the illegal rave at around 1am. This may be because some residents said they had difficulties when contacting 101. Police did attend the scene but at that time the music had stopped. I can confirm that there were intermittent periods of silence at the illegal rave, as I could clearly hear the racket from my house.
The illegal rave then continued and another complaint was made by a member of the public at around 3am. There had also been an incident in nearby South Ockendon as a member of the public was attacked by two men with a samurai sword. This was a major incident, as the victim had been seriously injured and Essex Police had to prioritise it and use all available resources. The two suspects escaped on foot and were being sought by the police helicopter which also flew to the scene of the illegal rave.
The next call Essex Police received about the illegal rave was about 5am. By this time, most of the revellers had left the scene and the illegal rave stopped soon after.
Inspector Whipps stressed that members of the public must report such incidents at the time and not hours later or even the next day – the more people that complain will give Essex Police the opportunity to put forward all available resources to tackle the problem.
Inspector Whipps apologised about the noise from the illegal rave and assured me that Essex Police does take these matters very seriously. He also explained that police numbers in Essex have been drastically cut since 2010 which is making the task of tackling crime much more difficult – and I can fully sympathise with him. I too work in the public sector and my Department has suffered staffing cuts and office closures since 2010 and it is difficult to provide a good service that the public expect and deserve.
We often direct our anger at public services, at police, at teachers and at the NHS when things go wrong – but we should understand that public sector workers are under immense pressure due to Tory cuts.
I am very grateful to Inspector Whipps speaking to me and investigating my complaint and I apologised for coming across sharp in my complaint, but I assured him that I would update the people who were affected by the illegal rave and I thanked him for contacting me.
To some people in Thurrock I might come across as a whiny man with nothing else better to do, but to many others I come across as someone who cares. And I do care. I care about Thurrock and my community. And I will continue fighting for all the right reasons.