Article from: Herald Sun http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24473097-661,00.html Paul Anderson and Carly Crawford October 10, 2008 12:00am POLICE are angry they will be made to provide a VIP escort for a motorcycle gang set to swamp Melbourne's CBD this weekend. More than 200 members of the Bandidos bikie gang will descend on the city this afternoon in a bold show of defiance. Police have been told to "facilitate" the bikies as they ride in convoy from Geelong to the CBD. The Bandidos will be given a police escort and traffic will be stopped so they can enjoy an uninterrupted run. Once in town, they are expected to hit pubs and strip clubs during their annual national run. "It really is a party," said one Bandidos member. Bikies from interstate and overseas are expected to join the run up the Princes Highway. The order from police command has outraged police already livid over what they say is a soft approach to bikie gangs. Officers will be drawn from regions already struggling to contain crime to monitor the gang from tonight until Monday. Police will devote 395 individual shifts to the operation, including traffic management units, general duties officers and brawler vans. "This operation will be sucking up a lot of manpower at peak trouble times," one officer said. Sen-Sgt Greg Davies, of the Police Association, said city police were already struggling to cope with drunken violence. "Clearly, we do not have the current frontline capacity to prevent Melburnians being injured on an average weekend in the CBD," Sen-Sgt Davies said. "We just hope our members will be deployed in sufficient numbers to protect themselves and the community at large. "We've got to be confident the force has used all of its intelligence gathering and has planned for this. If there have been any slip-ups along the way then this has the potential to make Attila the Hun's foray into Europe look like an end-of-season footy trip." A spokeswoman for Victoria Police said force command had contingencies in place for the run. "Victoria Police has a number of strategies in place to minimise traffic disruption and will continue to seek to provide a safe and orderly environment for the Victorian community," she said. But rank-and-file police are angry over the soft treatment. "They should be getting treated like they used to get treated, with crime squads reading them the riot act," one officer said. "I don't think a group of men who purport to be outlaws should be treated like this. Why should police assist them?" Another officer had a different opinion. "If you meet these people half-way you're going to stop trouble," he said. The Police Association said gang members should be ordered off their bikes and subjected to criminal and roadworthy checks . . . "a style of policing that says, `We have a reasonable belief that you're carrying drugs or firearms'," Sen-Sgt Davies said. Victims groups are also furious about the Bandidos pouring into Melbourne. "They're just thumbing their nose at the law, and victims and Victorians deserve better," Crime Victims Support Association president Noel McNamara said. "What are they going to do next? Put them in an Anzac parade?" A Bandidos member said the event had been moved from its traditional home in Queensland to Victoria. "We normally have it in Queensland and we haven't done it here before," he said. "We've got to do it somewhere, and there are really good freeways down here." He vowed there would be no trouble during their three nights at a Southbank hotel. "We're not that stupid. We've had that much police attention," he said. The event follows the shooting of a man believed to be a Bandidos nominee outside the gang's Sunshine clubhouse on Monday. The Bandidos' gathering in Melbourne comes as police push for control orders to limit bikies' movements and financial dealings. Victoria has resisted moves to follow South Australia in extending police more powers. "You'd have to assume they (the Bandidos) are leaving other states which have more powers," a senior police source said.