Volume 93, Issue 95

Wednesday, March 29, 2000


NEWS

Computers stolen from SSC offices

Research gets $18.5M boost

Western student still missing

Alcohol consumptions leads to - less sex?

Multiple arrests made at T.O. rave

Biotechnological food explained in magazine

Settlers have hard time finding jobs

Briefs

Bass Ackwards

Caught on campus

Multiple arrests made at T.O. rave



By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

In their efforts to make the rave scene safer for party-goers in Toronto, the mega-city's Police Services Board made their presence felt at a weekend event with a substantial number of arrests.

Sgt. Nigel Fontaine, a spokesperson for the Toronto Police Services Board, said 19 arrests were made during a weekend rave which hosted a crowd of approximately 15,000 people.

The individuals were charged with possession of drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy and crystal methamphetamine, he explained, adding several of the individuals were charged with trafficking an illegal substance.

The arrests came on the heels of the organization of a formal task force which works in conjunction with the TPSB and several other city agencies to crack down on illegal after-hours parties in the mega-city.

Thirty off-duty officers were on hand at the event last weekend.

"The bottom line is we're very concerned and we're approaching this as a partnership with the community," Fontaine said.

However, he added the police acknowledged the city's inability to completely eradicate the after-hours party scene. "The reality is, you can't make them illegal – you can't prevent people from socializing," he said.

"We do have a protocol designed to address different events and venues and we've proved it works," he said.

A police presence at raves was nothing new to party promoters, said Shawn P., a spokesperson for Ravestar Promotions in Toronto.

He said promoters appreciated the increased efforts to crack down on illegal drugs at the venues. "The fact that they made arrests is nothing new. Every single party [the police] scoop up a few people to set the precedent."

However, he explained the 19 arrests made at last weekend's rave was an attempt to send a clear message drugs will not be tolerated at the all-night events. "The police being there was not a bad thing."

He explained the TPSB's guidelines for any gathering of more than 1,000 people included provisions for everything from the number of toilets to paid-duty officers.

He added he was initially skeptical of the initiative, but was now more understanding of its goals. "They don't differentiate between after-hours parties that can be hot spots for gang warfare and the honest party, but they're slowly starting to see that," he said.

Kyle Rae, a city councillor for Toronto's downtown area, said he believed the City should sanction and monitor events such as raves and not lump them into the larger category of after-hours parties.

"It may transpire that these City sanctioned ones become less and less the ones we target and the clandestine and transient parties will be the ones left for us to deal with," he said.


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Copyright The Gazette 2000