Coventry & Warwickshire

Cheaper policing at Bulldog Bash in Warwickshire

A biker arrives for the Bulldog Bash - archive image (pic: Rui Vieira/PA Wire)
Image caption The event has been organised for this August at Long Marston airfield

Policing costs for the annual Bulldog Bash bikers festival will be lower than last year, the Warwickshire force said.

The police bill for the event in 2009 reached £600,000, but changes have been made for this August "in the light of current intelligence", police said.

Fewer road closures are planned by the force, which has opposed staging the Long Marston airfield event in the past amid fears over possible violence.

Hells Angels at a meeting about the event said they were pleased.

'Significant' policing operation

About 30 people, including some members of the Hells Angels, attended a meeting of the Shipston and Stour Community Forum in Lower Quinton on Tuesday.

In 2009 police tried to have the event's licence revoked, citing concerns about "heightened" tension between the Hells Angels and a rival gang, the Outlaws.

This followed the murder of Hells Angel Gerry Tobin after the event in 2007 and a riot at Birmingham Airport in 2008.

Last year there were about 450 officers involved in the operation for every day of the event. Eleven arrests were made in total.

Assistant Chief Constable Bill Holland, who was at Tuesday's meeting, said there would still be a "significant" policing operation.

Local community

"Last year it was very much built around a rigid system of road closures, funnelling people through specific routes and so on.

"What we're looking to do this year is to have something that is less predictable and actually achieves the same result, which is primarily to deter anyone attempting to attack anybody going to or from the event."

One of the Angels at the meeting, Bilbo, said: "I'm pleased to say they're toning down the thing this year and having it intelligence-led for a change, instead of just road blocking everywhere."

He added he was pleased to hear the local community was much happier over the road blocks situation.

Police reiterated at the meeting that it classified the Angels as an organised crime group, but Bilbo said: "I was a bit upset to hear myself called a member of organised crime yet again."

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