POLICE have written to schools across London warning of the dangers of attending illegal raves following the death of Rio Andrew in Croydon. The 15-year-old, from Notting Hill, died in hospital after collapsing during a rave at a former Royal Mail delivery office on June 14. The tragedy came just six months after Croydon student Daniel Spargo-Mabbs, 16, died after taking ecstasy at an illegal rave in Hayes, west London. This week the Metropolitan Police emailed letters to head teachers of all secondary schools, pupil referral units and sixth form colleges in London, urging them to warn students about the dangers of attending unlicensed parties. Among the risks listed in the letter is the location of the events and the use of drugs. Detectives are investigating whether Rio collapsed after drinking from a bottle that may have contained the party drug ketamine. Commander Simon Letchford said rave organisers gave "no consideration" to safety and asked staff and parents to report concerns, or information about potential raves, to the police. Yesterday Rum and Bass, promoters who organised the delivery office rave, told the Advertiser they would take steps to make future events safer, including mandatory age restrictions. The following is the letter sent to schools in full:Dear Head Teacher, You are, no doubt, aware of the recent death of Rio Andrew in Croydon (16th June 2014, aged 15 years). This tragic event comes only 6 months after the death of Daniel Spargo-Mabbs in Hayes (18th January 2014, aged 16 years). Both young men died after attending a rave. As we approach the summer holiday period, some students may be considering their options to relieve exam pressure and may be attracted by the lure of an event such as a rave. It is important that those of us with responsibility for safeguarding young people do all in our power to prevent a further tragedy. The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) seeks your assistance with this by asking you to address your students, and their parents, on the dangers of attending such events. Licensed v unlicensed events – any person attending a licensed event is afforded protection by requirements demanded of the event organisers by the licensing body. No such protection is afforded to anyone attending an unlicensed event such as a rave. So, for example:Type, location and condition of event venue: Raves are likely to take place in disused buildings which may not comply with health and safety regulations. Rave organisers do not work to ensure that there are sufficient, operable fire exits, unobstructed escape routes, sufficient lighting and ventilation or that the building is in any other way fit for purpose.Audience capacity Rave organisers do not concern themselves with the hazard of overcrowding.Drugs With no licence at risk, rave organisers do not concern themselves with the issue of drug dealing. Toxic drugs such as ecstasy and other amphetamine based substances are readily available at such events, with no guarantee for the purchaser as to the contents.Alcohol Again, with no licence at risk, rave organisers do not concern themselves with legal age limits for alcohol.Security Rave organisers do not provide security officers, so there is no 'policing' of public order, illegal drinking or drug dealing / use.First Aid There is no provision of any medical services, such as St John's Ambulance, in the event of someone at a rave falling ill.Communication No consideration is given by rave organisers to the requirement for sufficient means to communicate with any emergency service in the event of a serious incident endangering the lives of those present. Frequently raves will commence without Police being aware (fast time social media and communications mean that Police will not always be able to prevent raves from happening). This emphasises the importance of education by schools and parents. Parents are asked to be vigilant around their children's use of social media and robust in questioning them about their night time activities outside of the home. The MPS asks that you, your staff and parents report any information or concerns that you, they, or indeed any student may have regarding any prospective unlicensed event designed to attract young people, either to a Safer Schools Officer or to your local Neighbourhood Policing Team.
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