Car meet organisers urged to work with Beds Police to help crack down on anti-social behaviour
Car meet organisers are urged to contact Bedfordshire Police to help ensure their events do not attract antisocial behaviour.
During Monday’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) & Chief Constable Accountability Meeting (January 29), the PCC, Festus Akinbusoye, asked for details of any enforcement actions taken by Bedfordshire Police at car meets in the last three months.
“What is Bedfordshire Police’s plan for dealing with antisocial and dangerous use of vehicles in Bedfordshire, especially car meets?” he asked the chief constable.
“Obviously, this is on the back of our conversation about the incident in the Flitwick and Ampthill area a couple of weeks ago. I have touched base with some councillors since then and they’ve told me that they are not aware of any recent incidents since the publicity that we gave to that. But I would like to get from an operational point of view your plans for dealing with this, just to reassure residents that your officers [are doing] something about this.”
The chief constable, Trevor Rodenhurst, replied that action is down to the force and local authorities. “So there is a public spaces protection order that local authorities can apply for,” he said.
The PCC asked if public spaces protection orders meant it’s possible to ban car meets at a location.
“You obviously need to provide a good case for that,” the chief replied. “There’s currently ongoing proceedings, or the build-up to procedural steps, to gain one of those.
“We’ve got a few main locations in the county that we know this has happened in recent times, one of the main ones is the M1 A5 Link Road. There’s now a camera there to help deter that, and if it does occur to capture evidence and intelligence.
“But the main thing is, we want to work ahead of planned meets,” he said. “So this just needs to be done with notice and in a way that doesn’t turn into antisocial behaviour, and there are instances where this has worked really well,” he said.
The chief spoke about one group that regularly meets up at a retail park for “many years without issues”.
“We have a good relationship with them and they sort of steward their meetings,” he said. “So that’s the way I would like us to go, but it will never always work in that way.”
As an example, the chief spoke of intelligence that stated Central Beds was going to be “descended upon” by multiple groups.
“The organiser was issued a community protection notice warning, we put resources in place including some motorcycles and traffic vehicles,” he said. “Central Beds Council had safer neighbourhood officers and multiple vehicles were stopped. And there was the consideration of a dispersal powers notice, but we didn’t need to use that in the end.”
The chief added that the force is working with Central Bedfordshire Council as this is a “more prevalent problem” in this area.