7th April 2020
The Hot Topic – No More Picnics in the Park
During these uncertain times, the UK Government have had to make some difficult decisions, including the enforcement of a UK wide lockdown.
The lockdown set out by PM Boris Johnson came with a set of specific guidelines to follow in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. The allowance to leave the house only for essentials like food and medicine, work if necessary and one hour of exercise a day.
As we are approaching April, the need for social distancing and staying at home has never been greater as we reach the peak of the virus. However, despite regular Government advice and restrictions, some individuals are visiting parks and public places for pleasure rather than exercise, with the excuse ‘they’re adhering to the 2m rule’.
Within the Buckinghamshire area, Thames Valley Police have had to tape up various different playgrounds and skateparks within their county in order to restrict access onto these areas. Law enforcement in the Ilminster area, taped up the play area equipment with the park remaining open, in order to stop children and parents from utilising these playgrounds and recreation sites.
Whilst desperate measures have been taken by Central Swindon North Parish Council as they weld shut the gates to their tennis courts, as reports came in that the public were still using them to play matches.
With the UK set for warmer weather and with Easter holidays starting, a Derbyshire police and crime commissioner has suggested ‘lockdown fatigue’ will start to creep in, with people wanting to enjoy the weather and time off outside their houses and gardens. This is where tape and other security means are not going to hold up against the will of the public. What else can be done to restrict access to these recreation sites in order to keep within Government guidelines?
According to the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick speaking to BBC News, ‘We don’t want to see parks close, but it will require the small number of people flouting the rules to behave responsibly.’ So how can we effectively secure parks and public places from a minority of people during the COVID-19 outbreak?
Introducing temporary physical security measures to the perimeter of these sites will prevent people accessing without permission. Restricting access altogether with physical barriers may the only way to stop a minority of people that aren’t following Government advice and rules. Clearly physical security arrangements are the next step to secure these public places to protect everyone from this unforgiving virus.
So the hot topic asks; When PR doesn’t work to protect these sites, how do you secure parks and public places altogether?