Two £10k fines handed to party organisers in Derby
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Officers have issued £10,000 fines to two students who have breached COVID-19 rules by hosting large gatherings.
The county is currently in tier three, where the rules stipulate that there must be no mixing of households indoors, or most outdoor places, apart from where families have formed a support bubble. A maximum of six people can meet in some outdoor public spaces, like parks.
The latest fine was issued when officers attended a flat in Gower Street, Derby, in the early hours of Sunday 13 December and found more than 30 people at a party inside. A £10,000 fine was given to the 20-year-old man whose flat it is.
The first £10,000 fine was issued on Sunday 6 December when officers were called to reports of loud music from a flat in the Wardwick, Derby, at 1.15am.
When officers attended they found a large gathering of up to 70 people at a flat which had been organised by a 19-year-old. The partygoers were forced to leave and the student was issued with the fine.
In both cases, officers found the students to be from the University of Derby and we are liaising with the university.
The force is also investigating an alleged rave in an old quarry off Snitterton Road, Matlock. Officers found people at the site in the early hours of Sunday 13 December.
The music equipment was seized and those present were dispersed.
Detective Chief Inspector Emlyn Richards, said: “I was really disappointed when the county saw its first £10,000 COVID fine handed out, but to be followed by another a week later is very disheartening.
“Over the course of the pandemic, the public of Derbyshire have, on the whole, conducted themselves very well.
“In particular we have not seen the issues that other cities have seen in relation to gatherings - and that was a real positive for the city and wider county.
“However, if these fines do anything I hope they act as a real warning to anyone who thinks about hosting a party of any kind.
“Officers will always try and engage, educate and encourage people around the regulations – but where we find serious breaches such as this we will not hesitate to enforce the maximum possible fines.
“We should all be doing our utmost to protect ourselves, our friends and our families from this virus and organising events like these is simply not acceptable.”
Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “We are extremely disappointed that two of our students have been issued with a fine for hosting a party, in breach of Covid-19 regulations.
“This is unacceptable behaviour that has not only resulted in a significant financial penalty but potential disciplinary action by the University. We are assisting Derbyshire Constabulary with its enquiries, as well as conducting our own internal investigation.
“We know that the overwhelming majority of our students have adhered to the Covid-19 rules, however, this still does not take away from the seriousness of these incidents.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have stressed the importance to our students of taking personal responsibility for their own safety, and the safety of others, by fully complying with Covid-19 guidance. All students have been asked to commit to our ‘Together Pledge’, which was developed by the University and the Union of Students earlier in the year.
“We urge our students to think twice about hosting any social gatherings across the festive period or beyond that breach Covid-19 rules and put people at risk. Failure to comply with government and University guidance and regulations will be taken extremely seriously and, where necessary, we will take action, including disciplinary, in order to protect both the city and our University community.”