Priti Patel Used Flawed Data On Illegal Raves To Justify Emergency Police Powers

Priti Patel Used Flawed Data On Illegal Raves To Justify Emergency Police Powers

August 26, 2021

An investigation by Mixmag has uncovered that the Metropolitan Police was using a flawed methodology to record the number of raves it claimed to have responded to during lockdown, which Mixmag say, "had the potential to dramatically inflate its statistics".

These figures were then cited by Home Secretary Priti Patel to justify introducing emergency powers for police.

In an article for The Telegraph on August 28, 2020, the Home Secretary said: "In London alone, the Metropolitan Police has responded to more than 1,000 unlicensed events—such as big raves and parties—since the end of June, receiving information on more than 200 events across the city in a single weekend.

"We will not allow this breathtakingly selfish behaviour from a senseless minority to jeopardise the progress we have made together.

"That is why we are cracking down on the most serious breaches of social distancing restrictions."

As part of the investigation, journalists Wil Crisp and Karla Hunter used Freedom of Information requests to get to the root of the data and where it came from. Among other findings, they discovered that the figures published by the Met and then reused by the Home Secretary actually referred to the number of messages about illegal raves recorded on the 'Computer Aided Dispatch' system, not the actual number of confirmed unlicensed events.

The figures were then widely reported in the press, including stories by Sky News, The Times, The Independent, The Evening Standard, The Economist, The Mirror, The Express, and Manchester Evening News.

The Met have since emailed an apology to Mixmag, attributing the error to "confusion", but they said they would not provide a breakdown to show the true number of illegal raves identified by police.

You can read the full investigation here.

Words: James Keith
Image via Number 10