Row over police 'no-go' play park in Wisbech

Police have said remarks they would not go into a playground with a record of anti-social behaviour in Cambridgeshire after dark were taken out of context.

Councillor David Wheeler said he was shocked when an officer told a meeting of Fenland council that Waterlees Park in Wisbech would not be patrolled.

The remarks by Insp Andy Sullivan had made the park a "no-go" area, he said.

Insp Sullivan said police would respond when problems occurred and fighting anti-social behaviour was a priority.

Residents in the Waterlees area had complained to police and local councillors the new play area beside their homes had become a magnet for yobs.

Fenland councillors said they were told that officers would not be sent to the park at night as it had no lighting.

The £1m playground was funded by the government's Play Pathfinder scheme.

But since it opened last year people living nearby have complained their lives have been blighted.

'Out of context'

Mr Wheeler said the playground could have been put in several other places in Wisbech.

The Waterlees area was chosen because it had a history of anti-social behaviour and the playground was intended as a counter measure.

"I was shocked when Insp Sullivan said that police would not go in there after dark," Mr Wheeler said.

Insp Sullivan said: "I would like to make it clear that my comments have been taken completely out of context.

"I never said that the park is a 'no-go' area for my officers. We will always police all parts of Wisbech and respond positively to local policing needs.

"The park has its own security guard in place from 2000 GMT every night.

"Anti-social behaviour at the park was adopted as a neighbourhood policing priority.

"If we are contacted about a problem there, then of course we will provide a police response, as you would expect us to."

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