| Friday 9th May
2008 | Issue 631
Back to the Full Issue
Heat seeking cameras mounted on police helicopters, phone taps and car number plate tracking devices. Roadblocks too. These are being used, not for Norfolk Police’s anti-terrorist unit, but its party busting squad. All five million quids worth. Not that they’ll admit to that. When pressed about how much it costs to run a full scale operation every weekend, Superintendent Jim Smerdon argues that they don’t bother counting the cost because “all those officers would be available for other policing duties if needed anyway” - so long as there wasn’t a rave to bust. And with a nod to the BBC reporter interviewing him, Jim smiled as he mentioned that the police dog unit will be on duty that evening.
It’s that time of year when people think about how nice it would be to see the sunrise in the middle of the countryside whilst off their trolleys on a cocktail of chemicals. Norfolk has always been a popular destination for the free party – given all the land going ‘spare’ in that part of the country. No more endless drives around the M25 - "the party is in the corn field, down the road from that big farm and just 20 miles from the middle of nowhere". But the cops always seem to find them. At £1,500 an hour the police helicopter is on hand with its heat-seeking cameras and in no time 100 party goers find their night ending early. Now that’s value for money!
You might be thinking that Norfolk cops are rolling in the cash if they’ve got so many resources to chuck at busting a few harmless parties. But they’re hard-up as usual – and looking for sponsorship. McDonalds is supporting their ‘Force Link’ info centre in their main offices and alarm makers ADT have picked up the tab for a four wheel drive vehicle for use in rural trouble spots. You can even sponsor the Chief Constable’s annual golf day!
Despite continuing police pressure there were still decent parties in the Brighton, Sheffield and Milton Keynes areas last weekend and the coming months promise much more.
Check www.partyvibe.com for info.
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