Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Tonight is a big party night in many parts of the world, we wish everybody a safe and happy new year and hope that anybody going out tonight can avoid being ripped off by outrageous ticket prices or having their unofficial alternatives closed down. Here's some global party policing news from December.

England: Rave returns to Slough area (Slough and Windsor observer, 31.12.07)

‘Patrols have been stepped up around an industrial estate after an illegal rave saw 500 revellers take over an empty warehouse.Police have been forced to beef up their prescience on the Poyle Industrial Estate after they were unable to break up a massive event. The rave in an empty warehouse saw an estimated 500 party goers descend on David Road, Colnbrook on Saturday, December 8. Officers were called to the event but decided it was too established to break it up prefering to monitor the situation safely and help disperse it the following day.

Slough East Neighbourhood Inspector, Andy Boomer, said: “This is the first rave that we have had in a number of years. Officers who were called to the scene estimated that there were some 500 people at the event. On s occasion it was decided to monitor the event rather than break it up. Since the rave we have increased patrols in the area to prevent a reoccurrence.”

India: police plan to stop New Year's Eve parties

'The Mumbai police's cyber crime cell is monitoring the Internet for information on rave parties being planned... The Mumbai Police is hoping that in the city, the Internet will yield information on not just venues but also who's been invited and the source of drugs. Rave parties are normally organized in places like Madh Island, Aksa beach, both in Mumbai, Yeoor Hills in Thane, Lonavala, Sinhagad and Mulshi in Pune are also hotspots. The Pune Police busted a rave party in March this year where 289 youngsters were picked up from a rave party in Sinhagad. The Mumbai police itself had raided a rave party in September 2006 at a Borivali farmhouse and arrested 80 people including 13 drug suppliers and prosecuted them under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Now they are hoping to take that a step forward by prosecuting even those who advertise and publicise such events. The Mumbai Crime Cell says that once a rave party invite is found on the Internet on a cellphone, they use IP address and SIM card details to trace the identity of the sender and members of his group. With this pre-emptive measure they hope to bust the party even before it begins' (NDTV, 26 December 2007)

'After hundreds of youngsters were caught with drugs in a rave party, early this year, Pune registered 40 more cases of drug seizure. This is, however, an indicator of how susceptible the student city has become to drug peddlers. Keeping the city away from such unwanted elements, during the biggest party time of the year is a challenge, which the Pune Police is getting ready for... Pune crime branch will coordinate with excise and customs department for information on drug smugglers. Security forces will pair with home guard force to beef up security. City borders, too, will be covered with 13 check posts. Every entry lane to Pune will bear heavy security on the New Year eve. The police here is making sure that no matter how heavy the traffic be, no vehicle will enter the city without a security check.

Event managers are also hit by the tough stance taken by the city police. Last year Pune had twelve major events on the New Year eve, this year only six have managed to pass the necessary license tests. A club owner and event manager says, "After the trans party that really shook the city, this New Year eve is not going to be that big a celebration that it normally is for a lot of event managers."(IBN Live, 30 December 2007)

Australia: police criticised after overdoses (, December 12, 2007)

'A police raid on a dance party at a medieval tourist attraction near Ballarat in central Victoria caused the overdose of 14 young people, a drug users association has claimed. Fourteen people were treated at Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital for drug overdoses at the Ultraworld rave event at Kryal Castle on Saturday, with three of them spending time in intensive care.

The head of drug users organisation VIVAIDS, Damon Brogan, blamed police for the mass overdose, saying rave-goers swallowed their drug stashes rather than risk arrest as police with sniffer dogs entered the party.He told the Herald Sun the arrival of more than 70 police at the rave party was “over-zealous”.

Nigeria: police raid Kuti family 'Shrine' club (AFP, December 16, 2007)

Nigerian police late Saturday raided the New Shrine nightclub in Lagos founded by two of the children of the late Fela Kuti, Nigeria's most reknowned musician, the Kuti family and police said Sunday. "They stole money, they stole drinks and they broke instruments," Fela's daughter, the dancer Yeni Kuti told AFP.

"I can confirm that a raid took place," Lagos state police spokesman Frank Mba told AFP. "It started at 2300 (2200 GMT) and ended at around 0500 and 331 persons were arrested," he said. Mba said the club was suspected of being a "safe haven for criminals" who met there to plan their "nefarious activities." He said he had also received complaints from residents of the area about "Indian hemp (marijuana) and other kinds of illicit drugs" being consumed on the premises. Mba said all of those arrested but found to have no link to any criminal activity were being released.

Yeni said the police broke down half of the door to the room where her musician brother Femi Kuti keeps his saxophones. "When you see what they did there, it's terrible," she said. Femi said he and his sister had been cleared of any involvement in robberies but were still at the police station trying to secure the release of more of the club's patrons.

"People are telling us we should be careful -- that they just want to victimize us," Yeni said. The New Shrine is a vast hangar decorated with fairy lights and Fela Kuti memorabilia. Most of the regular Shrine patrons are boys and young men. The atmosphere is friendly and electric with Femi Kuti often playing non-stop for several hours, and the club is something of a Lagos institution. The smell of marijuana there is so strong that visitors joke about it not being necessary to smoke oneself as "just breathing in is enough to get high". But the club has no reputation for hard drugs.

Fela Kuti himself, an outspoken critic of the then government, had several run-ins with the security forces. In the worst of several raids on his home, in 1977 his mother was thrown out of a window and died the following year from the injuries she sustained. His son Femi is also extremely critical but tends to attack Nigeria's political class as a whole rather than individuals'.

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