Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart will not ride in any more toy runs.
The Commissioner took part in the Ipswich Toy Run on Sunday that attracted more than 800 bikes.
The event, run by the Lockyer Branch of the Ulysses Club, came under fire from some critics claiming the Commissioner would turn it into a political stunt in the wake of the current anti-bikie war
However, organisers say they had more riders this year than the past few years.
Toy run committee member Ian Timperley says it was close to their biggest number yet.
“It was due to a combination of things; perfect weather, last few years rain in the morning; and we’re getting a good reputation for having a good run,” he says.
“Our president copped a lot of calls and emails the week before quite abusive about letting the Police Commissioner go but our club doesn’t care what they ride or what club you are in, it’s all about the spirit of Christmas.
“Having the Commissioner there turned out to be a bit of a fizzer.”
A police media statement confirms the Commissioner has been invited to other motorcycle events, “but unfortunately hasn’t been able to attend due to other commitments”.
The Commissioner previously told a meeting of recreational riders that he wanted to show support for recreational riders by participating in the Ipswich Toy Run.
The Commissioner told the meeting that any motorcycle rider who is not involved in criminal activity has “nothing to fear from police”.
Meanwhile, Police Minister Jack Dempsey will be a pillion in the Gasoline Alley Toy Run this Sunday from Ipswich to the Springwood store.
Ian Temperley says the police had a heavy presence at the Ipswich Toy Run on Sunday, but as escorts and traffic marshals, rather than hassling riders or checking IDs.
“We had a police escort all the way, through traffic lights, the guys kept up with each other and there were no cars cutting in.”
He says they haven’t tallied the proceeds from the run, but he expects it to be a record.
“We sold out of everything that we had – patches and pins,” he says.
Proceeds, food and toys go to the Salvation Army and the Ulysses Club Arthritis Research Fund.
The 17th annual Ipswich Toy Run is the longest running in South East Queensland and has raised more than $150,000 in cash, alone.
(Photos courtesy Camerland-Kodak Express, Brassall)