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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Ihre Papiere Bitte, Schnell!"

As anyone who has read my blog in the past will know, I'm not a big fan of the tabloid media. I think they print whatever they like, be it truthful or otherwise, they spin everything to their own agenda, not considering the ramifications of their actions, and when they do get it wrong, as they so often do, they hardly ever admit to it, so it is with some scepticism that I read a report today on the Daily Mail website.
I quote:

"Telford Town 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 'common sense approach' aimed at safeguarding children."

So, just to clarify, if I happened to be walking through Telford town park, whistling a jaunty tune and at one with the world, I run the risk of being a potential sex offender at the very least, or worse a paedophile, because as we all know, thanks to rags like the Daily Mail, paedophiles are EVERYWHERE!!!!

Every stranger that walks down your street is a kiddie-fiddler just casing the joint to snatch your little darling as soon as you turn your back, every wrong number that calls your house is hoping and praying that a child answers, and Gary Glitter has a home no more than an hour from you (if he were travelling by Eurofighter Typhoon).

The media are disseminating THE FEAR so well, that the vast majority of the public, who are good natured I'm sure, would think twice before helping a child in distress, I certainly would.

I remember fracturing my arm as a primary school kid. I man in a car saw me fall, and stopped to make sure I was ok. Realising I wasn't, he lifted me into his car, drove me home, then drove myself and my mother to the casualty department of the local hospital, whereupon my mother thanked him.

Would I do the same nowadays? No chance.

Welcome to Britain, 2008.


Ro said...

Well, that saves me having to write about that today {disappears for a moment to delete Word file}.

It wasn't just in the Mail; it seems to be true.

Apparently, men unaccompanied by at least one child will be asked to explain their presence and if the answer is deemed unsatisfactory will be escorted from the park and may be reported to the Police.

I bet the cops will be chuffed at this.

The council defended its new rule by saying that they do "reserve the right to ask people what they're doing in the park. Otherwise it's a free-for-all where they can come and do what they want".

Odd that but I had this quaint notion that we were living in a free society where we are allowed to do what we want as long as it's legal. I won't even mention the presumption of innocence.

And this, lest we forget, is in a public park funded by local residents.

"Land of Hope and Glory / Mother of the Free"? This particular Mother must be weeping right now.

Löst Jimmy said...

What if you are a muslim man and walking in Telford's park without children? doesn't matter what excuse you give the Parkie, you're fucked. One word Paedo-Terrorist.

Anonymous said...

great post. well said.

I would still probably help a kid and put them in my car..but I'm female and I have kids myself so it's different. Just shitty the way it's all going.

Steve said...

Utter madness. Am I going to need a Government permission slip just to walk down my own street either accompanied or not with my own children? Appalling.

Bulldog said...

sounds like a good idea to me! if there were two parks in my area, one took precautions against pedophiles and one didn't, guess which one I'd let my kids play in? maybe this is what it takes to make parents feel safe enough to let kids play outside alone again, the genuine threat is irrelevant, the percieved threat, even it is created by the media, is the one that makes parents lock their kids away from the outside world. and nobody is saying that single men cant go there, just that they might get asked WHY they are there. good blog by the way.

Anonymous said...

.......also, just so as you know, geffallen means "to please" as in give pleasure, please as in the polite request is "bitte".

achtung spitefire!
The plain german society

Inchy said...

Bulldog - How far do you take this idea then? Should you be asked who they are for when buying sweets in a shop? Should someone like me, nearly 40 and no kids, be automatically suspect? Should typing 'kids' into google images like I had to do for my post entitled 'kids' red flag your ip address somewhere?

Anon - No one likes a smart arse.

Bulldog said...

When I used to live in Britain, (^^^ I was that smart arse), I was often stopped by police and asked where I was going, and where I had been. did't deter me from going out though. Anybody coud ask anybody, at any time what their purpose is for being in a park, and if one were to ask someone, who's answer was, "just hanging around wasting a bit of time 'till my bus comes", chances are you wouldn't find anything suspiscious in that.
Anyway I don't believe Telford town council, actually believe this will serve as a deterent to kiddy-fiddlers, I think it's more a p.r. excercise, to re-assure paranoid parents. I hate the fact that, when I pick my kids up from school because it's raining, I cant offer a lift to the other kids from my street, so they get wet. and why? because everyone is paranoid about child-molesters. The media may not have created this monster,but they have magnified it beyond all proportions. Telford parks dept., in publicly giving "parkies" powers (that they already had anyway), will hopefully encourage parents to let their kids play outside again. that can't be a bad thing.
as for the sweet shop,If it's hubba bubba bubble gum YOU'RE GUILTY!

Bulldog said...

If this story is accurate, as far as I can see, the only people whos liberties have been infringed any more than they already were, are the "parkies", (incidentaly, I used to be one in Cardiff), who have been "ordered" to do someone else's job,(whatever happened to the unions)?

Eostre said...

This kind of blanket paranoia that assumes everyone is guilty rather than take the time to find the facts worries me. This reminds me of the whole mass deletion saga at livejournal that had fandom up in arms. Balancing civil liberty with keeping children safe is a delicate business, and it worries me that it's been left up to people like Warriors for Innocence or the cringe-inducingly named Perverted Justice.
More on last year's LJ Pedophile Drama and the extemely sketchy Warriors for Innocence here and here. Second link is a little tl;dr, but raises some interesting questions about the people corporations listen to.

Helga Hansen said...

It's a bit more bizarre than that... there were some people in the park, leafleting for some cause, and one of them was dressed in a penguin suit. Turns out that because the penguin wasn't CRB-checked, they were asked to leave the park. It made the national news...

Bulldog said...

maybe the leaflets were flyers for a "sleepover" party at Gary Glitter's house?

Bulldog said...

........Telford council backed down, and appologised this afternoon, but claimed the local paper, (I forget the name despite reading it less than a minute ago), exagerated the story.

The leaflets were environmental leaflets

unique_stephen said...

You cant take pictures of your own kids on a Sydney beach without facing a similar risk.

Inchy said...

Stephen -The whole 'kids photo' debacle is just ridiculous. Parents unable to take photos of their children on sports day or in a school play in caes . . . in case what exactly?

Are we to believe that paedophiles will risk breaking into someone's home just to hunt for photographs to spank off to?

Overkill or what?