Annual leave for police in West Yorkshire has been restricted to ensure the safe running of the Tour de France when it passes through the county.
The Grand Depart zooms through the region in early July and three Yorkshire forces – West, North and South – will be involved in policing it. All of them are restricting annual leave during the event.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said leave was not being cancelled but leave applications would be looked at to make sure there was staffing capacity to properly manage the event.
Chief Superintendent Barry South said: “The staging of the Yorkshire Grand Depart is a great honour and is already generating considerable interest and excitement throughout Yorkshire and beyond.
“We are therefore expecting it to be a very large-scale public event and we are working closely with local authorities and other partners including TDF hub 2014 to ensure all appropriate resources are in place.
“West Yorkshire Police has considerable experience in dealing with large-scale public events and planning for this one is at an advanced stage. As part of this, as is normal procedure, we are controlling annual leave on 4, 5 and 6 July until we are sure of the exact level of resourcing required.”
Nick Smart, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “We understand why the Force has had to restrict leave. It is a major worldwide sporting event and it impacts massively on the force over a number of days.
“It’s a one-off event and a great coup to have the Tour de France passing through the area.
“We understand that we have to have the correct staffing levels to ensure the event passes safely and without incident. We just hope that officers will be able to get leave when they want it for the rest of the summer.”
Meanwhile local organisations are still preparing for the Grand Depart’s arrival in Yorkshire.
Keighley voluntary drug and alcohol charity Project 6 is having a Tour theme for its monthly Progress Dining Club, following the success of its social enterprise Progress Cafe and Catering. It will be run by service users recovering from drug or alcohol dependency.
And artists who have been inspired to explore their creative side by the Tour de France have been invited to put the results on public display in Keighley.
Central Hall, in Alice Street, is encouraging people to submit any art or poetry related to the Tour for inclusion in a month-long display within the building’s cafe.