Park wardens have been ordered to stop and interrogate anyone who is not accompanied by children.
The visitors who are quizzed have to explain their presence and risk being thrown out or reported to police if their answers are not satisfactory.
The policy has been introduced at Telford Town Park in Shropshire. The council which manages the 420-acre area says it is a ‘commonsense approach’ aimed at safeguarding children.
But park users accused it of ‘authoritarian madness’ and said the ruling risked panicking parents about the dangers faced from potential paedophiles.
The policy came to light after two environmental campaigners dressed as penguins were thrown out of the park last month when caught handing out leaflets[…]
Telford and Wrekin Council said Rachel Whittaker and Neil Donaldson were ejected because they had not undergone Criminal Records Bureau checks or risk assessments before entering the park – a requirement under the Child Protection Act.
Miss Whittaker, 34, from Wellington, near Telford, said the policy carried a ‘dangerous implication that if you have a child with you than everything is OK and you won’t be questioned’.
Former childcare social worker John Evans said: ‘It is authoritarian madness which can only be based on ignorance. It is absurd, it is insulting and it is dangerous as it panics people about the dangers their children face.’
Comments on Daily Mail’s website:
A park is a public place for the benefit and enjoyment of all members of the public. Not all members of the public have children but most pay council tax for the upkeep of local amenities.
Are the Council concerned going to offer refunds to those refused such use.
– peter, worthing, 9/9/2008 16:36
I sincerely hope that people tell them where to go. I would. If it went to court, they wouldn’t stand a chance. In fact, an embarrassing apperance in court would do these brainless,unprofessional zealots good.
– jim, Wirral,Uk, 9/9/2008 16:12
I was thinking about moving back to the UK in the next few years, however my parents said that I should reconsider.
This story takes the proverbial biscuit!
How long before people – mainly men – stop taking walks in case a group of people start pointing and looking for the simple reason that he is alone?!
Q “We’re stopping you as we have reason to believe that you could be a paedophile…”
A “I’m just taking a walk!”
Q “That may well be true, but can you prove that you are NOT a paedophile?…”
I pity you all!
– Dave, Hamburg, Germany, 9/9/2008 16:59
Where can I hire a kid if I want a stroll in the park?
– Brian Anderson, Castle Douglas, 9/9/2008 16:27
CAN ANYONE SPOT WHEN COMMON SENSE CAME INTO PLAY.Parks were for us all and we do not need council busy bodies infringing on our human rights. These are public places and we all have the right of access as long as we are obeying the law. If someone is breaking the law by all means apprehend them. Where do we find these “law” makers and more to the point, why do they all end up working for local councils.
– Dab, Cambs, England, 9/9/2008 16:10
Considering studies show that the majority of children abused by paedophiles are family members or friends,
– V. Argent, Hammonton, New Jersey, USA, 9/9/2008 16:32
On the one hand we are advised to walk for the good of our health and if we do we are accused of being paedophiles on the prowl.
– Bernard, Edinburgh Scotland, 9/9/2008 16:47
The locals must be so proud that the council has effectively decided to accuse single people in open public spaces of paedophilia. How lovely.
– John, Bournemouth, 9/9/2008 16:53
This effectively ‘demonises’ people without children. It will also entrench peoples paranoia, don’t bring up children to be afraid of everyone!!
Some strangers are dangerous, yes. Being afraid of everyone and isolating yourself and your children is to be imprisoned by your own fear
– Robyn Fall, Prescot, Merseyside, 9/9/2008 16:55