The 2009 Bulldog Bash, taking place this year between 6th – 10th August, made the TV news again this morning. Apparently the police are asking for a review of the 10 year licence granted by Stratford Council last year, despite police objections.
They are citing “rising levels of violence between criminal members of motorcycle gangs” as their reason for the review. This first made the news back in February when Police Chiefs announced on their website they want it scrapped, after apparently recieving intellegence that gangs were planning a reprisal attack after the unfortunate death of Gerry Tobin, miles away from the Bulldog Bash site in 2007.
Last year the local force spent £1.4 MILLION, yep, you did read that right, £1.4 million patrolling the outside of the gathering. The police used number plate recognition technology and stop and search on people attending and all this resulted in 26, out of about 20,000, people being arrested. A vast number of people and vehicles were searched and some were found to be taking camping knives, ermm, to a camping event!!!
If you work it out, 24 ‘offensive’ weapons were siezed, £1.4 milion was spent by the police, so it works out at £58,333 per ‘offensive’ weapon taken from law abiding campers!!! A tad excessive, don’t you think? It looks like the only really dangerous weapons anywhere near the site were the guns carried by some of the police themselves at the gates to the ground!!!
Both the locals and organisers of last years event condemned police for their excessive and unnecessary security checks, which included blocking off some local roads in the area, which no doubt caused inconvenience to local residents. This, as well as the stop and search tatics used by police, also resulted in fewer people leaving the site over the weekend to visit the local community, which meant local shop owners suffered a loss in revenue, based on previous years takings.
Here is the information from the BBC’s website for the local area.
Biker Event Licence Review Sought
Warwickshire Police has applied for a review of a licence for a biker festival which was attended by a man who was murdered on his way home. Hells Angel Gerry Tobin, 35, of Mottingham, south-east London, was returning from the Bulldog Bash in 2007 when he was shot on the M40. Seven members of The Outlaws biker gang were jailed for life for his murder.
The force said it has serious concerns about rising levels of violence between “criminal members of motorcycle gangs”.
The Bulldog Bash is due to be held at Long Marston airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon from 6 to 10 August.
A 10-year licence was granted by Stratford District Council a year ago despite Warwickshire Police’s objections, the force said. Warwickshire Police said it has made it clear it would prefer the event does not take place following the shooting of Mr Tobin and “violence which has occurred since, both in the UK and abroad”.
Assistant Chief Constable Bill Holland said: “The decision to seek a review of the licence is in no way connected with the law abiding majority of motorcyclists who attend the event. “Law abiding motorcyclists are welcome in Warwickshire and there are many locations in the county where bike enthusiasts meet on a regular basis.”
Police said its objection to the Bulldog Bash was about criminality and “the need to protect the public from harm here in Warwickshire, across the UK and abroad”. Mr Holland added: “We consider that the actions of a minority could jeopardise the safety of the public and this is why we are seeking a review.”
Warwickshire Police said it had been working closely with local people and businesses “to try to minimise the impact of the significant policing operation we anticipate will be required” if the event goes ahead.
Given the state of the current economic climate no doubt the local community will have absolutely no objections to losing the potential income from the sudden influx of bikes to the area, which in all honesty must run to quite a few quid extra in the coffers.
Plus, I’m pretty sure the hard working, tax paying people of Warwickshire can sleep well in their beds at night, knowing their money will once again be wisely spent when policing this years event!!!
By the way, I’ve seen the figure of £1.9 million being used as the estimate for the costs of policing this years event!
Please feel free to comment on this..
Coventry News – 02/03/09
BBC News – 18/05/09