On the 16th of Feb me and Steve Bolton (Yorkshire political rep) attended a meeting at Leeds Civic Hall with Councillor Debra Coupar, Chief Superintendent Paul Money and Adrian Tonge (legal services LCC). The meeting opened with a frank admission from Councillor Coupar that there have been failings from both the council and police in the implementation and notice of the injunction as they’ve never had to put one in place before. Lessons will be learnt. She apologised on behalf of the council for any misunderstandings that have arisen.
The injunction is on an offshoot of the council website but not on the main site – again a mistake she admitted to and an apology was given.
Chief Superintendent Money stressed that the injunction was in no way whatsoever going to affect legal riders in any way. The injunction is intended to be served to individuals (not groups) prior to any events, as and when intelligence highlights any potential illegal rides.
The injunction will not be used to stop group rides from both clubs and groups of friends, or affect charity rides, funeral processions or even demonstration rides – so long as individuals involved are legal.
He regretted the lack of resources available on the night of the Halloween ride out but admitted his hands were tied and the police did the best they could to keep the public safe.
Using intelligence gained from the video footage, over 30 people have been sent to the youth courts, magistrates court and crown court that were directly involved in the Halloween ride. The injunction has already been served six times in the last two months to stop illegal rides before they happen. It will also be used to clamp down on illegal riders on off road bikes causing a public nuisance.
We’ve been assured that, in the future, MAG will be fully informed of any similar actions from either Leeds city council or the police in Leeds.
We suggested that MAG organised an event to promote a positive image of bikers and both the council and police were keen to be seen to be backing us up and want to be involved. Details are to be negotiated but all ideas will be looked at so if you have an idea for an event to promote the positive image of bikers, let me know.
All in all the meeting cleared up a lot of our fears over the injunction and we left the meeting feeling like we’d made some allies in high places.
Manny (Leeds and Bradford MAG rep)