A senior police officer has told the BNP he fears more violence if the party tries to hold its annual festival in the county this summer.
Alan Warner wants to hold the Red, White and Blue festival in fields next to his home in Codnor-Denby Lane, Denby, for the third successive year. But Superintendent Howard Veigas, who policed the event last year, has pre-empted any official announcement by writing to Mr Warner with his concerns.
He said the police would object if the party applied to Amber Valley Borough Council for a licence to sell alcohol and play live music at the event.The comments came after the force spent £250,000 policing last year's event with about 400 officers. Anti-BNP protesters clashed with police outside the festival site, leading to 33 arrests.
The letter to Mr Warner said: "In the view of the Derbyshire Constabulary, the site at Codnor-Denby Lane is not a suitable venue for an event which generates such strong emotions and objections. We would oppose it on the grounds of risk to public safety, prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of public nuisance and protection of children from harm.
"The protests last year led to a high number of arrests following various incidents of disorder which took place around the site. The open nature of the site means that it is impossible for the festival to be protected against any determined and violent opponent without a large police presence."
Last year, the BNP withdrew its application to sell alcohol and play live music on the land after the police objected but the event itself went ahead. Mr Warner said the same could happen this year. He said he could not understand the views in the letter as last year's problems had been caused by anti-BNP activists. He said: "We didn't have any trouble on our site last year. If the BNP were to apply but not get the licences I would imagine we would still hold an event."
One festival organiser, Wendy Russell, said that, if the festival took place in Derbyshire, it would be held on or around August 13, 14 and 15. She said: "We are having a committee meeting about it within the next couple of weeks. It will definitely go ahead somewhere, as it's the 10th one, so we've got to pull out all the stops. There's always other options but we like Mr Warner's land and the local area."
One local resident, Brian Bentley, 77, of Codnor-Denby Lane, said he was delighted the police were planning to object.
"If the paperwork comes in I will be objecting, as I did the year before, on the basis of noise," he said.
A police spokeswoman said the concerns raised with Mr Warner were "based on intelligence we have received and the risk that was caused by last year's violence in the area surrounding the festival".
"We are in regular contact with Mr Warner to discuss his plans," she added.Police only have powers to object to a music and alcohol licence being granted; they cannot object to the festival itself as it is being held on private land
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