Police chief stuns councillors by declaring Waterlees play park is a ‘no-go’ area after 8pm because of health and safety fears
A POLICE chief stunned town councillors after telling them he had used health and safety fears to stop his officers entering the �1million Waterlees play park after 8pm.
Inspector Andy Sullivan confirmed his directive in an interview with the Wisbech Standard and claimed “the place has no lighting and it is still, in effect, a building site.
“I am not going to put my staff – police officers or PCSOs – into an area where they can’t see what is going on.”
Insp Sullivan said: “If kids play in the park at night we will not go in. It is not our job to get kids out of the park. “If it was any other building site, would people be happy if police tried to get people out?
He added: “If there is a crime being committed then obviously we will go in. But it is not our job to clear a private park – we are not security staff.”
The Wisbech sector commander confirmed, however, that “when its gets lighter I will review things.”
Councillor Richard Fulcher said he was astounded by the inspector’s remarks made to Monday’s meeting of Wisbech Town Council.
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“I and many other councillors were disgusted with his comments,” he said.
“What on earth sort of society have we got where police officers refuse to go anywhere after 8pm?
“What inspector Sullivan has done is to declare this part of Wisbech a ‘no go’ area because of poor lighting.”
Councillor David Patrick said: “I think councillors were gobsmacked by his remarks.
“He said police officers wouldn’t go into the park because it was dark – don’t they carry torches?”
The �1 million playground, funded by the government’s Play Pathfinder scheme - has been subject to a barrage of vandalism. Two 65-foot barges were attacked just days after they were installed.
And at a public meeting back in October, concerned residents claimed that they had been tormented by drunken youths who had “taken over” the adventure park.
Security at the showcase park had to be stepped up durings its development, with a guard remaining on site when contractors went home. Last summer, MP Stephen Barclay questioned why so much money had been spend on the play area. He was also concerned that the design included a fire pit for use by children.
After a child was injured in the unfinished playground last summer, the MP said: “It is important that residents get quick answers to clarify which person has made the decision to sign off this design, why it is costing so much, and what can be done to sort out problems already identified.”
County councillors said no flood lights were put up at the request of residents and planners had prevented a higher fence being installed.