Po­lice and coun­cil need to bust this myth

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your Views -

Afew weeks back Gary Goose, head of com­mu­nity ser­vices at Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil called for some ‘myth-bust­ing’ re­gard­ing the trav­el­ling com­mu­nity in the city.

He pointed out that while some left a mess be­hind they were no worse than res­i­dents who dump rub­bish on the street.

He is ab­so­lutely right and I agree with him.

Res­i­dents in Stan­ground might not.

They have been left shocked and dis­mayed at the mess left be­hind by an il­le­gal camp of trav­ellers.

Mr Goose said: “If you are aware of the amount of fly-tip­ping re­ports we get from the non-trav­eller com­mu­nity, I would ask ‘what is the dif­fer­ence’?’’

The dif­fer­ence is in the re­sponse of the au­thor­i­ties.

The coun­cil makes a lot of noise about its de­sire to pun­ish fly-tip­pers and on the odd oc­ca­sion they nick some­body they trum­pet it.

Clearly many fly-tip­pers get away with it –in­clud­ing those who have left mess at trav­ellers’ sites.

But I can’t re­mem­ber the city coun­cil ever pros­e­cut­ing any­body in con­nec­tion with the rub­bish left at il­le­gal camps.

And come to that I can’t re­call the po­lice pros­e­cut­ing any­body when there are cases of crim­i­nal dam- age or other il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties.

The au­thor­i­ties need to be very care­ful with this softly softly ap­proach as they risk cre­at­ing the cli­mate in which vig­i­lan­tism might thrive.

That would ben­e­fit noone not least the re­spon­si­ble mem­bers of the trav­el­ling com­mu­nity who do not leave a trail of de­struc­tion be­hind them.

No­body is say­ing this is an easy nut to crack - but just be­cause some­thing is dif­fi­cult isn’t a rea­son not to tackle it.

I think one myth many city res­i­dents, and par­tic­u­larly those in Stan­ground would like bust­ing, is that the au­thor­i­ties are not tak­ing this prob­lem se­ri­ously enough. That’s as­sum­ing it is a myth.

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