Page last updated at 14:27 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 15:27 UK

Adults quizzed by park attendants

Telford Town Park
Only adults acting suspiciously will be questioned, the council said

The human rights group Liberty has written to a council after it said adults seen in one of its parks without children would be questioned.

The policy came to light after climate change protesters dressed as penguins were stopped in Telford Town Park while issuing leaflets.

The council later said its letter to them should have made clear only adults acting suspiciously would be quizzed.

Liberty said it had written to the council seeking clarification.

Director Shami Chakrabati said: "The council must either have a demarcated child-only area or question adults only when they give cause for suspicion.

"Unless they propose to turn the entire park into a creche, they should stop picking on peaceful protesters."

'Common sense'

The letter, sent to one of the climate change protesters, said they needed to apply for permission from the council to hand out leaflets in the park.

It added: "Our town park staff approach adults that are not associated with any children in the town park and request the reason for them being there."

Ron Odunayia, the council's director of community services, said: "There is absolutely no suggestion whatsoever that people are routinely approached by our staff for no apparent reason.

"We are not talking about a blanket policy covering everybody who enjoys our town park.

"However, and this is the crucial part, if someone is acting in a suspicious manner or acting in an inappropriate way then, of course, our staff reserve the right to ask questions.

"This is a common sense approach and applies to areas where children or more vulnerable groups gather."

A council spokesman said only five childless adults regarded as acting suspiciously in the park had been questioned in the past five years.


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