Should a childless person be allowed to enter your local park?

If you are childless (and haven’t borrowed someone else’s children for the day), it’s best to stay clear of Telford because as the local paper reports:

Council staff on the lookout for paedophiles have been ordered to stop and quiz any adults found walking in Telford Town Park without a child, it was revealed today.

Anyone who wants to go to the park but is not accompanied by at least one youngster will have to explain why they are there.

It’s best not to try to hand out leaflets either because also:

Telford & Wrekin Council said Rachel Whittaker and Neil Donaldson of the Wrekin Stop War pressure group were ejected [after handing out leaflets] because they had not undergone Criminal Records Bureau checks or risk assessments before entering the park.

Ah yes, having a criminal records check before you hand out any leaflets. How silly of them to overlook that. And as for handling pieces of paper without doing a proper risk assessment first. That’s just foolhardy. Have these people not heard of paper cuts? Alternatively, you may take this view:

Former childcare social worker John Evans said: “It is authoritarian madness which can only be based on ignorance.

“It appears that the council wants to use child protection as a cover for anything they don’t like taking place in the park, like the campaign against global warming by those two people who were handing out leaflets.

“It is absurd, it is insulting and what’s more it is dangerous as it panics people about the dangers their children face.”

P.S. Political morsel to ponder whilst muttering to yourself ‘this is health and safety gone mad’: Telford & Wrekin is a unitary council with a seven member Cabinet, all of whom are Conservative councillors.

Hat-tip: Liberal England

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  • I think Coram fields in London is like this too. I wanted to eat my sandwiches there once, and was not allowed in. I have been CRB checked to work with kids, but sadly I don’t think I would have been let in even had I had the paperwork to prove it!

  • The problem with this cotton wool wrapped society is that children are not exposed to anything. They then grow up and wonder why life is hard and do not see the dangers.

    There are reasons why there sometimes needs to be a winner and a loser, reasons why children should play in parks and know not to talk to strangers and reasons why they need to learn to do things without a health and safety study… They need to learn how to live life!

  • Can we just check the story is accurate first???

    Not unknown for papers to misrepresent on the subject of “political correctness come mad” !

  • If true it’s outrageous, since it would be illegal to request a CRB check on someone who wants to deliver/hand out leaflets anyway.

  • Liverpool Council have banned campaign groups from handing out papers, leaflets ect in the city centre. Not that we would ever feature their misdeeds on lib dem voice, its only “authoritarian madness” when the tories do it.

  • I have been posting warnings on LDV for some months now that the state is planning to impose curfews on adults. Well, here we have one. Anyone walking into a public park in Telford is liable to be arrested and branded a paedophile.

    The irrational fear of paedophiles is something Cheney and his friends are desperate to encourage. They know that when people live in fear they will accept curbs on their liberties that they wouldn’t normally countenance. And they know that people are much less likely to join together to take collective action if they suspect that everyone they meet wants to bugger their children.

    Stand by for more of the same.

    Incidentally, more an more public space (including parks) is becoming inaccessible to dogs. Almost every shop and almost every restaurant has a notice in its window banning canines. As a result, animals are left outside where they get distressed and run the risk of being dognapped. I saw a particularly awful example of anti-dog zealotry in Eastbourne yesterday. A notice outside a church – yes, a church – telling people not to bring their dogs into the churchyard. Whatever happened to Christian charity?

  • Mike Falchikov 9th Sep '08 - 5:24pm

    Indeed, these and other well-documented incidents are evidence of a hysteria sweeping through some sections of society that is reminiscent of 17th century witch hunts. We do need concerted action by all of us who still care about our children being brought up in a healthy and caring community to take a stand against this awful nonsense. More power to the demo in

  • There should be a mass demo in this park which every free-thinking person within half an hour’s drive should attend .Failing that ‘Free park use ‘ candidates should stand in the local elections

  • Mark is right. Witch hunts is the perfect expression. It is being driven by the media by continually focussing on the sensational and reinforced by weak politicians who only look to their next headline. Hence the knee jerk reaction by Tories in Telford. Sadly there has always been a proportion in society that are bad uns and there always will be. The question is how far do you stigmatise and persecute the many, in order to protect against the few? It reminds me of a joke by Al Murray along the following lines “We need to kill all single men in case they become paedophiles ..(pause).. It’s best not to take the chance.” How long I wonder?

  • Yet going to the park for a walk is one of the most pleasant ways to talkle obesity.

    I suppose this is another case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing!

  • > what we actually need is a government that isn’t full of authoritarian arseholes and a judiciary that’s strong enough to uphold our constitution.

    Actually it’s becoming more and more evident that local government is the outstanding threat to British civil liberties – and, knowing what the mindset of council officers can be like, I’m not sure I trust Lib Dem authorities to be any better than the Labour and Tory ones – it’s likely to be more about institutional attitudes than the hue of political control.

    Also, as a childless adult party member who’s fond of the outdoors and sick to death of hearing about the tribulations of “hard-working families,” I’d like to propose that, instead of facing restricted access to facilities paid for by my council tax, I should actually be getting a tax credit for my household’s reduced environmental footprint and diminished call on local services.

    Except I don’t expect to hear Nick “congratulations on your third” Clegg talking about that any time soon.

  • Do they also stop adults with a dog but no child. Or a child with a dog but no adult?

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