Express & Star

Children's rave refused permission in Sandwell over crime and 'chaos' fears set to go ahead in Wolverhampton

A children’s Christmas rave has been refused permission to go ahead in Sandwell due to fears of crime and of kids running through the streets causing chaos.

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MJ's Bar And Venue, in Wednesbury

The rave, hosted by events management group Reload, was set to take place at MJ’s Bar and Venue, in Wednesbury, on December 20.

It is now set to go ahead in Wolverhampton.

Children as young as 11 set to attend to event will miss out on winning a Boohoo giftcard; a free soft drink on the door; and confetti cannons.

West Midlands Police raised several objections to Sandwell council – the local authority responsible for licensing decisions – and claimed previous events held by Reload had resulted in a “sheer number” of criminal logs for a “relatively short event”.

One such previous event, a Halloween rave, resulted in a young female being assaulted outside MJ’s Bar and Venue  by another female who had been in attendance.

Up to six criminal logs were recorded for the location and surrounding area, according to West Midlands Police.

One log, reported by an off duty member of police, Sandwell council heard, described fights in the queue outside as “large numbers attempted to get in” the venue. The officer reported “numerous parents” were also involved in confrontations as they tried to intervene.

In their objections, an anonymous licensing officer for West Midlands Police said: “A further log from a member of the public reported […] hundreds of children running around the nearby roads causing chaos.

“On attendance officers found groups of youths in the area wondering around causing issues and it was clear there was an issue dispersing groups away from the location.”

Even the applicant for Reload’s temporary events notice had called the police during the Halloween rave and told officers there were “meant to be there to support” him. The remarks came after “lots of youths” were turned away from MJ’s Bar and Venue.

The licensing officer added: “It is concerning to see that the event organiser has called in for officer support to assist their event and there was clearly no plan in place to deal with unexpected numbers and the volume of attendees.

“On previously speaking to the organiser, West Midlands Police advised we would potentially attend to check all was in order but officers were not offered to support the running of the event as this remains the responsibility of the event organiser.”

West Midlands Police told Sandwell Council the applicant had contacted officers after the Halloween rave and stated he “would not hold the event again” at MJ’s Bar and Venue as he was unhappy with the security provision.

“It is surprising to see an application for this venue again given the concerns the applicant himself raised and the awareness of the police concerns following the last event,” they added.

Large numbers of under 16-year-olds unaccompanied during peak Christmas trading times also raised concerns to West Midlands Police.

It is not the first time licensable activities have been refused by Sandwell Council in Wednesbury.

Seven Bar was refused the opportunity to reopen with a new licence after a 22-year-old man with found with a stab wound in his back.

Reload is advertising that the event will now take place at The Hangar, in Pearson Street, Wolverhampton, on December 20.