Stop "engaging" and just do your job

June 08, 2009 4:27 PM

The Telegraph reports a truly ridiculous example of the police failing to do their job and enforce the law:

"However, police and council workers have ruled out fixing the pothole-ridden road because they are worried about sparking a riot from travellers who could think they are about to be evicted if workmen turn-up.

The decision has been branded "appalling" by local residents and even the travellers say work to fix the road urgently needs to be done.

Essex County Council wants to resurface the road but will only send workmen with a police escort incase the workers prompted a hostile response from travellers. Essex Police has turned down requests, saying it may cause problems by creating fears in travellers that they are about to be evicted.

MP John Baron wrote to Basildon Police Chief Inspector Simon Dobson asking for a police escort for road workers but was told before any work was done experts would need to consider 'traveller engagement'. He said before any potholes were filled they would need to create a network of people to negotiate with the travellers, send a clear and consistent message and hold an open meeting so travellers could ask any questions about the works."

It's bad enough that the law isn't being enforced in the first place, and the illegal camp hasn't been closed.  It is completely outrageous that the police are now unwilling to escort builders to get the road fixed, just in case the travellers think the police officers might be doing their job.

This whole case is even worse because the travellers insist there is no need for the builders to get a police escort in the first place:

"Even the travellers think the process to fill in a few potholes is long-winded. Gratton Puxon, a spokesman for the families, said: "I think I speak for everyone when I say the police are not needed.

"People at Dale Farm want the road fixed as much as residents. It should be done without the need for this rigmarole."

So, it looks entirely possible that the massive traveller riot that is stopping the road being fixed is a figment of the council's imagination.

Regardless, and leaving aside the absurdity of not being able to evict an illegal camp even after spending £700,000 on the legal case, if the police think that the traveller group are going to riot just because they approach to safeguard some building work then they should turn up in force and arrest the rioters.  The police need to stop thinking so much about "traveller engagement" and focus on doing their job, enforcing the law and making sure law-abiding citizens can freely go about their business.

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