I see my question to Andy Bennett on his police blog has got a reply:
Perhaps you could explain what your thinking is on the Dispersal Order on College Green imposed by Avon & Somerset Police?
Particularly could you explain why something that has been condemned by our elected representatives is still in place because you lot, who are unelected, say so?
What’s the point in us voting if the police can just do what they like in this city regardless of our views and the people we choose to represent us’ views.
Not very democratic is it?
We work with local Councillors as part of the Safer Bristol Partnership. We don’t just pluck dispersal orders out of thin air, they are put in place for a reason, normally responding to public requests for them. The dispersal order in College Green was actually put in place to prevent people urinating on Bristol Cathedral, drunken abusive behaviour and making the public feel generally unsafe when they walk across the green. We need time to break this offending pattern and target offenders. I have seen no evidence that our intention was/is to prevent all skate-boarding in that area. We encourage people to share open spaces but in a way that is considerate to everyone. The police may not be elected but we have legal and moral responsibilities to tackle crime and disorder. Finally, what is reported in the media is not always accurate!
I’ll return to this in a day or two when I’ve recovered from the weekend.