Monday, 5 September 2011

The Trouble With Travellers

My Force has been asked to assist with the Dale Farm Traveller site eviction and I am getting briefed on the role of our PSU teams. I have read some of the recent rhetoric on the subject. From the right we have calls to bulldoze the site and throw them all off into the sunset and from the left we have calls for compassion, human rights and understanding of the honourable nomadic people. The cause is now being taken over by the usual anti establishment leftie brigade who are rushing to the scene. The proposition of a chance to bash a few coppers is too much to resist.

Dale Farm is green belt land which is occupied by Irish Travellers. The land was agricultural land which has been bought  by some of the travellers. All over the country the same thing is happening. There are three illegal encampments in the area I work. The Council are in the process of taking similar enforcement action against two of the sites. The third, they tried to take action but the Court decided that no eviction could take place as there is an elderly lady living there who is ill. When she finally pops off the Council can try again, but if history is anything to go by there will be a pregnant mother or sick child who cannot be moved for one reason or another.

What do I know about Irish travellers? Well when I attend diversity training a Christian traveller lady comes to talk to us. She tells us about the history, the culture and the morality of the traveller community. She talks about the work they do, the travelling and of her own Christian travelling community.

Like nearly all police officers I have had many dealings with travellers over the years. I remember the first non payment of fines warrant I ever tried to execute. It was at the home of a settled traveller family. I knocked on the door and an upstairs window was opened by the person named on the warrant. I explained why I was there and he shouted "Fuck off." No power of entry for a fines warrant, so I did.

Most traveller families keep themselves to themselves and are no different to any other community. A significant number however are criminal and antisocial and have also settled green belt and common land. The travellers sites in my area have never ending piles of tree cuttings and other rubbish dumped on the roads near the site. The Council spend a fortune cleaning up after the few who give the majority a bad name. If we attend the sites we always have to have extra officers to guard police vehicles or they will be damaged. Artifice burglaries are almost exclusively committed by Travellers.

The romantic notion of the community travelling on the open road is pure bunkum. Some Travellers attend the odd fair and visit family occasionally but the vast majority do not move from one year to the next.

I have also learnt that Traveller children generally attend junior school and then most drop out. The girls leave to help mothers look after younger siblings and the boys go to work with their father's. Very few traveller women work. Their role is to cook, clean, bear children and look after their men and children.

It is children that are the main issue with the Traveller community. Most of the girls are married before 18 and they have large families. The Traveller community is therefore growing at a significant rate. If we accept the male dominated, sexist culture that brings this about then we are either going to have to allocate more traveller sites or accept that more an more green belt land will be occupied by Travellers. If the latter happens then there may be more and more Dale Farms to deal with.


  1. "The proposition of a chance to bash a few coppers is too much to resist."

    Any person with a point of view at variance with the only correct one, must be violent, aggressive and unreasonable, Tnago. Such are destined for a bad collision with a hard floor, particularly slight females, are they not?

  2. Your last paragraph really struck a chord with me. I was out on attachment a while ago and met a young Traveller girl, about 16, who hadn't been to school since year seven (first year of secondary school).

    I couldn't help feeling that we, as a society, had really failed her and all the other Traveller kids (especially girls). Is it more important to keep their culture intact, or to ensure that these young people get the education they deserve and have a right to?

  3. No Melvyn, not everyone who fails to obey or disagrees with a Court Order is violent, aggresive or unreasonable. There are keyboard agitators, such as yourself, fighting the fight from the safety of their bedrooms. There are out of work actresses who pop up and spout the drivel of Gramsci and then return to the safety and trappings of their middle class bougeois life. There are also the usual leftie pathetic cretins who will be at Dale Farm ever hopeful for a chance to have a pop at the police. They need to be careful. The Travellers may turn on them and give them a good hiding.

    I get briefed this week. I hope the brief will be for robust policing which will help ensure that police officers are not injured.

    You also need to get over the notion that Tang0 and I are the same person. Makes you look silly Melvyn, or sillier I should say.

  4. Good luck Lex. (You could always use subterfuge and knock a few doors and claim to be from the `Water Board` and ask them to turn all the taps on, then entice them outside and, bingo, you're in.)

  5. @ Bravo Sierra Control - Some of the Travellers will tell you that their children cannot attend secondary school as they are bullied. I am sure that this is part of the problem but to be honest most of the Traveller families I have met simply use junior school as a free baby sitting service. When they reach secondary school age they don't want their children in school mixing with non Travellers as they are worried they may be tempted away from their culture. They also want the girls at home helping clean, babysit and cook and the boys start going to work.

    Regarding Travellers and other cultures, I think it is sad that young people have to be denied an education or brainwashed to maintain their culture. But my diversity training has taught me to respect and embrace them.

  6. Great idea Hogday. I would love to suggest it at the briefing but the risk is I might have to endure another two days of diversity training!

  7. Funny enough I'm one of the lucky officers nominated to go on the PSU wagon to this beautiful event..... along with the another trip to the MET this week!!.

    I'll be honest I can't really imagine how this one is going to turn out?

    I had the pleasure of visiting one of out local sites just recently and was met by a five year old kid shouting at me as I walked through the huge iron gates. I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing!!!??.

    The child was f-ing a blinding at me as I walked up the long drive 'You hear to take our fecking motorbike away you gaver cu**' and then proceeded to hit me in the back of my legs as I walked along still swearing!!!!! Oh eventually some adult came over to pull the child away and just said hey mind your language?? I did wonder might this be the same person who taught him these words in the first place!!

    So I imagine the reception at Dale Farm will be somewhat similar with grown adults !!!

  8. "Makes you look silly Melvyn, or sillier I should say"

    Few wouldn't find it side-splittingly hilarious to be described as 'silly' or 'daft' by a policeman whose intellectual summit is marked by a GCSE in basket weaving.

  9. 'A GCSE in basket weaving.' My seven year old thought it was hilarious! Ever thought of becoming a comedy script writer? Troll tosser!

  10. Good post. It is a worth reading post. I am just bookmarking this post so that it reaches as many people as possible.

  11. I like it! I like it a lot. You know exactly what you’re talking about, exactly where other people are coming from on this issue. I’m glad that I had the fortune to stumble across your blog. Its definitely an important issue that not enough people are talking about and I’m glad that I got the chance to see all the angles

  12. That's definitely authorities have to deal with the issues. They need to deal with what the rightists have to say and those with what the leftists have to say. That's why governance is such a difficult job.