I swear their has to be some kind of contest going on between UK town councils to see who can come up with the most ridiculous safety regulations. If I’m correct in that assumption then the Watford Borough Council has put together an entry that’s going to be pretty hard to top. Not saying it can’t be done because in the UK all things are possible if those things are stupid, but this one’s a gooder.
According to a new Council policy, parents and caregivers can no longer accompany or supervise their own children at public playgrounds becausethey haven’t undergone criminal background checks.Instead, parents have to stay outside a giant fence and leave the monitoring to qualified “play rangers”. Yes, play rangers, that’s what they’re called. Can you think of a name that sounds less fun than that? I sure can’t. Don’t know about the rest of you, but to me play ranger conjures up images of those insufferably peppy douchebags with guitars, backpacks full of craft supplies and an encyclopedic knowledge of fabulously irritating campfire songs who always seemed to run every kids camp or program ever to exist when I was growing up.
A council notice to parents explains that: “Safeguarding the children and young people who use the site is one of our top priorities.
“Due to Ofsted regulations we have a responsibility to ensure that every authorised adult who enters our site is properly vetted and given a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check by Watford Borough Council.”
Council Mayor Dorothy Thornhill argued they are merely enforcing government policy at the play areas, in Vicarage Road and Leggatts Way.
She said: “Sadly, in today’s climate, you can’t have adults walking around unchecked in a children’s playground and the adventure playground is not a meeting place for adults.
“We have reviewed our procedures, so although previously some parents have stayed with their children at the discretion of our play workers, this is not something we can continue to do.
“There are other places in the town for parents with small children to go.”
She didn’t say it, but I think the place she had in mind for parents and children to go is fuck themselves.
and what a stupid argument that is. If you don’t like what we’re doing here, go somewhere else. That might work if it was a private playground, but the words public play area generally mean that the very people she’s telling off, the same ones who pay the freight so that Ms. Thornhill and her delayed ilk can make rulings like this are the same ones who are paying for the damn park and its play rangers to exist in the first place. You can’t very well tell the entire town to get stuffed and expect it not to get a touch cranky about it,,\ can you?
Even children’s charities, organizations who have been known to advocate some pretty silly things in their own right, think that this is a tad over the line.
Claude Knights, the founder of children’s charity Kidscape, said the council were “using a sledgehammer to crack nuts”.
“They are encouraging a climate where parents and children are rendered suspicious without any proof of wrong doing or guilt,” she said.
“Caring parents should not be viewed as a threat and if you are a bona fide parent or carer you are in a better position to look after your children than council staff.”
What’s the old saying about the scariest words you can hear being “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”? I don’t think it was coined in the UK, but based on things like this, it probably should have been.