Police under fire for failing to attend when children and volunteers in Warwick felt threatened by trespassers

Police have come under fire for failing to send out officers when children and volunteers felt threatened by '¨trespassers.

Friday, 5th October 2018, 10:17 am
Updated Friday, 5th October 2018, 10:19 am
Concerns have been raised, after a recent group of travellers set up camp on land near the Warwick Corp of Drums. Despite threatening behavior towards local business owners, local Police declined to attend, based on insufficient officers being available at that time. Pictured: Cllr. Martyn Ashford & Deborah Unitt & Louise Wyatt. NNL-180210-214556009

On Tuesday September 25 travellers started arriving in the Hampton Road area and more arrived on the Wednesday.

Warwick Corps of Drums was practising on Wednesday evening with around 15 children when more travellers started arriving on Hampton Road. The team at the site decided to stop practise and wait for parents to arrive.

Deborah Unitt, trustee at the Warwick Corps of Drums, said: “We were concerned about getting children home – parents would be collecting them at 8.30pm and as the travellers were using our access road we were worried about them getting to us.

“A group of travellers then started to come up to our gate, rattling it, shouting and being intimating. Others were walking along the fencing. More were arriving, queuing to get on the car park and blocking our access road and only means of exit.

“I rang 999 to explain the situation. I requested assistance to ensure the children could get to their parents safely and that we could leave, without the travellers getting on our property.

“I was asked how many children we had and they told us they would dispatch a unit to us straightaway. We locked our building and waited for the police. No one arrived. Eventually as parents arrived our corps director took the children over to them. At about 8.40pm the flow of travellers arriving had stopped and we could use our road.

“The owner of Cam Riders came and stopped in the building overnight to ensure there was no attempt to gain access.

“I rang the police again to raise concerns that no one had come out and that if they had any 999 calls from the building as he was on his own. They told me they hadn’t got any units to come out.

“I contacted Cllr Martyn Ashford who contacted the police and was told that they only had a one-man unit and for health and safety reasons couldn’t send it – I’m not sure the parents of the children will find comfort in that.”

Martyn Ashford, town and district councillor, said: “The no-response by the police to a 999 request shows a shocking lack of priority to a situation where parents, children and users were intimidated by travellers, which was beginning to turn frightening.

“Due to a lack of police support, parents and users had to run the gauntlet of this intimidation in order to escape which thankfully they did – no thanks to the police.

“I would like some answers off the police.”

Inspector David Kettle of Warwick Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “All of our calls are assessed for the potential threat, harm and risk to the public and property at the time the call is made. Resources are then allocated appropriately based on the demand at that particular time. The incident was logged and advice was given. We received two further calls in relation to the incident and were then called at 8.29pm to confirm it had been safely resolved and the suspected trespassers had left the premises. Officers attended later in the evening to conduct a reassurance patrol.”