Police and council need to bust this myth
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.