Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season of Goodwill

Like many other suburban or rural forces we have a permanent travellers caravan site. The local water some time ago provided a permanent water supply to the site and provided meters to each plot akin to what you or I would have.

Nearly a third of a million pounds in unpaid bills later they got warrants to have the meters changed to pay as you go ones. The Utility company asked if we would come along to 'prevent a breach of the peace'.

After some umming and aahing by the people in charge of such things on a higher pay grade than I, they agreed to go along on a "neighbourhood style" of policing, i.e. not many officers, and the ones who are there to go round and "engage" with the residents.

Well, about half the meters had been changed and a number of plots were without any water at all when there was a perceptible mood shift and a few characters were noted walking round with various gardening and building tools, but not doing any gardening or building jobs, if you know what I mean. Combine that with a few insults and an increasing array of missiles from the youth element and the water boys decided this was not worth it and left.

Now the Utility Co won't go back in unless we can guarantee their safety. The only way to (probabky) guarantee this would mean a lot of officers to safely contain the residents away from the workers. Probably in riot kit. Effectively barricading women and children in their own homes or corralling them outside. And don't forget another lot manning a roadblock to prevent friends from coming to assist.

The Community Superintendent won't authorise that. It's not proportional. And to be fair, I understand why. Legal aid human rights lawyers would have a field day and in the current circumstances he'd find himself in rather hot water.

So. The Water Company have a court issued warrant to change the meters. The police won't help to implement this warrant despite the Water company following all the correct legal and court procedures.

In the meantime, half a dozen traveller families are without water.

Season of goodwill indeed.


On a cheerier note. Hope you all have a merry and safe christmas, whether working or travelling on these ice rinks masquerading as roads!