Quarry rave halted by PSNI social media

July 7, 2014

By Christine Keighery

Police in Newry have prevented an illegal rave taking place on the edge of a quarry by issuing a warning on the PSNI Facebook page.

The open air event had been publicised on social media and was due to take place last Tuesday night in a field skirting the top of the disused quarry in the Hillhead Road area outside of the city.  Police found out about the event and, amid concerns for the safety of the scores of young people expected to attend the event, officers posted a stern warning on the PSNI Newry and Mourne Facebook, advising of the possible consequences of attending the rave at the dangerous site.

The message warned potential “ravers” that their details would be passed to the land owner for pursuing civil trespass cases and that they would be reported or arrested for public order offences as well as reported to Newry and Mourne District Council for drinking in a public place.

It went on to advise that a “robust” policing operation was in place to deal with the situation and that the event had been cancelled by the individuals responsible for promoting it online.

The post ended with “This is your warning to stay away and not attend the event”

The Facebook post received hundreds of “likes” but also drew criticism and negative comments from people who claimed the event had been “blown out of proportion” and who accused the police of “ruining everyone’s summer.”

The PSNI issued a firm response to the criticism, condemning the”maturity level” of some commenters who they said “did not recognise the dangers of such a gathering where the ground is known to be unstable.”

“Seriously, we have ruined every young person’s summer in the whole world ever by telling you not to go to an unlicensed, unregulated carry on in a field in the middle of the countryside which just happens to be close to a quarry, how mean are we?” argued a PSNI spokesperson.

“Perhaps your summer would be better if we let this go ahead and you go so off your face on drink and drugs that somehow you thought it was a good idea to try and fly off the cliff edge into the quarry … Whose summer would that make so much better?”

The PSNI added: “Or better still, how good would the summer be if you were searched going to this and we found your stash of drugs, then we took you to court and you got a conviction for drugs offences and maybe a prison sentence?”

The stern retort received twice as many ‘likes’ as the original warning and it was subsequently revealed that the PSNI officer who penned the popular rebuke was also responsible for the New Year’s greeting on the PSNI Newry and Mourne Facebook page which caused some controversy at the start of this year.

“Nearly 6 months ago to the day, the media reported on my not including Ulster Scots in a New Years message and folk threatened to go to the Ombudsman. Today local media reported on my comments about the carry on planned for last night in Newry”  the officer in question posted on the Facebook page last Wednesday night.

“The original comment telling folk to stay away was well supported, the comment I made below that original post has in excess of 250 likes.

“Our job is to protect people. My post and comment last night resulted in the event not happening and kept folk away from the area. I, and many others who have openly commented, believe that young peoples lives and futures were saved as a result of this.

“Our Facebook page has just passed the 4,500 followers mark which is definitely due to the news articles. Our Twitter followers continue to grow.”

The PSNI officer reiterated that his social media updates were made outside of his working hours and urged the public to “keep liking and sharing our posts, comments and the page and we will keep you updated about what’s happening locally and what we are up to.”