Police Chief calls for May Day bridge opening

first_imgThe commander of the Oxford police service has argued that Magdalen Bridge should be opened for next year’s May Day celebrations after heavy security failed to prevent students from jumping into the river this year.Superintendent Jim Trotman, local area commander for Oxford City, has proposed to reopen Magdalen Bridge on May Day owing to complaints from local residents about the disruption caused by police measures.Trotman explained that this year’s precautions had been counter-productive. “As the police commander for the city, and actually having been there and visited the bridge on the day, I think that the big mesh fences and amount of yellow jacketed wardens at the event are an overreaction,” he said.On May 1, Police closed Magdalen Bridge between 3am and 9am at a cost of £10,000. The decision came after 10 students were sent to hospital as a result of jumping off the bridge in 2005. This year three Oxford Brookes students managed to jump off the bridge after the security had been removed.John Kelly, Oxfordshire’s Emergency Planning Officer, expressed his satisfaction at this year’s precautions given accidents in previous years. “We were happy with how it went this year as we were in 2006 after the events of 2005,” he said.Kelly said that there had been meetings to discuss the operation last week. “The planning starts in October for May Day 2008, so nothing will be decided until then,” he said.Keble’s JCR President, James Frew, voiced his support for the security precautions taken during this year’s celebrations.“I completely support the measures taken by the council to prevent people from jumping, even if this includes closing the bridge for the morning and patrolling it for the remainder of the day,” he said. Frew added that on May Day 2005 he had witnessed the accidents that had resulted in injuries to students.“Two years ago I was on an island beneath Magdalen Bridge for May Day and was within metres of people jumping from the bridge. I think I watched at least 12 people being assisted out of the water, and their injuries were mild compared to some from previous years.” Superintendent Trotman argued that such events should go ahead to allow police to pursue other more serious matters.“I only read last week that there was a Gloucestershire cheese rolling competition in which people are bound to get seriously injured, indeed sixteen people were hurt this year, but it continues unrestricted by local authorities,” he said.Rachel Smithlast_img read more