A police chief has banned officers from entering an unlit children’s play area at night – because it is too DARK.
Inspector Andy Sullivan from Cambridgeshire police has declared the £1million Waterlees play park a no-go area after 8pm.
The unfinished park in Wisbech, Cambs., has no lighting and has been hit by vandalism in recent months.
But officers will no longer be able to enter the park at night unless a crime is already being committed.
Inspector Andy Sullivan claimed it was not safe to send officers to the park – but will review the policy ”when it gets lighter” in the spring.
He said: ”I am not going to put my staff – police officers or PCSOs – into an area where they can’t see what is going on.
”If kids play in the park at night we will not go in. It is not our job to get kids out of the park.
”If it was any other building site, would people be happy if police tried to get people out?
”If there is a crime being committed then obviously we will go in. But it is not our job to clear a private park – we are not security staff.”
He added: ”When its gets lighter I will review things.”
Wisbech Town Councillors were shocked by the announcement made at a meeting on Monday evening.
Councillor Richard Fulcher said: ”I and many other councillors were disgusted with his comments.
”What on earth sort of society have we got where police officers refuse to go anywhere after 8pm?
”What inspector Sullivan has done is to declare this part of Wisbech a ‘no go’ area because of poor lighting.”
Councillor David Patrick said: ”I think councillors were gobsmacked by his remarks.
”He said police officers wouldn’t go into the park because it was dark. Don’t they carry torches?”
The playground, funded by the government’s Play Pathfinder scheme, has already attracted controversy.
Two 65ft barges were attacked just days after they were installed and a child was injured in the unfinished park last summer.
Concerned residents claimed at a meeting in October that drunken youths had ”taken over” the park and were tormenting local people.
Security was stepped up during the park’s development and a guard was posted on site when contractors went home.
Last summer, MP Stephen Barclay questioned the design – which includes a fire pit – and the huge cost of the scheme.
He said: ”It is important that residents get quick answers to clarify which person has made the decision to sign off this design, why it is costing so much, and what can be done to sort out problems already identified.”
County councillors said that flood lighting had not been put up at the request of residents and that planners had refused permission for a higher fence to guard the park.