NAGTRW COMPLAIN TO IPCC AFTER HUMBERSIDE POLICE DISCRIMINATE AGAINST TRAVELLERS

NAGTRW have made a complaint to the IPCC after Humberside Police have conducted themselves in a manner that;

  1. Demonstrates discrimination toward the Gypsy /Traveller Community
  2. Have conducted themselves in manner that in breach of their Public Sector Duties under the Equality Act 2010

On 2nd April 2016 a group of Gypsy/Travellers were parked up on Central Park in Scunthorpe, and this was reported in the Scunthorpe Telegraph as a ‘1pm update’ on 2nd April 2016, shortly after this Humberside Police sent out a ‘Warning” via the the Scunthorpe

Telegraph – headlined as ‘WARNING: Bogus traders preying on vulnerable & Elderly, Police warn’
Although the Gypsy/Traveller families were not mentioned – it would have been reasonable to assume that the settled community might perceive that this was a reference to those families. Indeed commentary on the Scunthorpe Telegraph Facebook page indicated that this was how this ‘warning’ was perceived.

warn

As a result of this ‘warning’ NAGTRW by way of a FOI request to Humberside Police enquired about in instances of ‘Bogus Traders’ in the area.

The response from Humberside stated that having searched all call records for the period specified there were NO calls that reported ‘bogus traders’
In response to NAGTRWs question about the same frame of time last year [2015] – there had been a total of 4 reports of bogus traders –

Humberside Police concluded that there had in fact been a fall in such incidents between 2015 and 2016.
As there were clearly no calls in relation to bogus traders on or just preceding 2nd April 2016 – then there were clearly no genuine grounds to need to ‘warn’ the public via the media of anything at all.
This ‘warning’ sent out to coincide with the arrival of Gypsy/Traveller families in unacceptable and served only to cause alarm and and concern by the settled community towards the Gypsy/Traveller families visiting the area.
This ‘warning’ will also have served to prevent families from earning a living.
This cannot be seen to be an error, badly timed or accidental – the fact is that there were NO reports of bogus traders at all
We require a full and transparent investigation
We wish this untruthful ‘warning’ by Humberside Police to be regarded as a ‘Hate Incident”
NAGTRW demand a full and public apology

Conservative Party Disciplinary Committee Will Look At NAGTRW Complaint Re PCC Candidate

It has been confirmed that following a complaint by NAGTRW in regard to comments including the use of the word ‘Pikey’ by Tory PCC Candidate Jason Ablewhite – that the complaint has been passed to the Party’s disciplinary Committee for consideration.

The complaint sent today to Conservative Party Chairman Lord Feldman of Elstree read as follows;

Dear Lord Feldman,

 Re Conservative PCC Candidate for Cambridge Jason Ablewhite.

We are writing to you in relation to the conduct of the above named Conservative candidate for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner.

During 2010 this man made comment of Facebook together with other Conservative local Councillors – Tom Sanderson, & Ryan Fuller.

While engaging in what Councillor Ablewhite has since called ‘banter’. The three men were making commentary about a couple that appeared in a picture wearing ‘high viz vests’. Councillor Sanderson says ;

‘ Someone give these two some tarmac to lay’

To which Councillor Ablewhite replies –

“Pikey’s caught on camera!!”

Ryan Fuller who we understand is also a Conservative Councillor for Huntingdon District Council adds to the commentary;

“Tarmac your drive Guv? All in aid of the Christmas lights of course”

The three then go on to make inappropriate comment about Spanish Refugee’s

Mr Ablewhite is quoted by local press to have said –

“My group of district councillors, we have a bit of banter with each other,” said Cllr Ablewhite.

“I apologise if it caused any offence, but it was private at the time.

“If it’s just private friends having a laugh, it’s no different to if you’re just down the pub doing the same.”

National Alliance of Gypsy Traveller & Roma Women, feel that this commentary is not acceptable when it comes from those involved in public life, we do not feel that the time elapsed since these comments were made is relevant.

It should be noted that this was posted on Facebook, and the internet is very much a public space, regardless of whether or not this group had expectations that these comments would become widely known is also not relevant as Mr Ablewhite was posting as Councillor Ablewhite, and as such he is speaking in his role of a Conservative Local Councillor.

From his comments to local press it is abundantly clear that Mr Ablewhite fails to recognise why this is unacceptable, and it’s worrying indeed some 6 years on he draws comparison and justifies his comments as ‘no different if you’re just down the pub doing the same’

We would urge the Conservative party to exercise the same outrage to Mr Ablewhite’s comments as that has recently been demonstrated in regard to those made by Mr Livingston’s.

It is impossible in light of Mr Ablewhite’s comments to see how a person holding these views and feeling it perfectly alright to express them and use a word like ‘Pikey” to possibly hold any public office let alone that of Police and Crime Commissioner.

Please look to your in house Equalities Policies and also UK & EU Legislation and suspend Mr Ablewhite as a candidate for PCC.

We would like to add that like the Jewish community Gypsies were also victims of the Holocaust, tens of thousands were murdered, and yet we have no representation on UK’s Holocaust Commission, despite repeated request for reasons outlining why this is the case.

We would be grateful for a timely response to this request.

National Alliance of Gypsy Traveller & Roma Women

www.nagtrw.co.uk

 

 

 

 

NAGTRW TO CALL FOR SUSPENSION OF TORY POLICE & CRIME COMMISSIONER CANDIDATE

National Alliance of Gypsy Traveller & Roma Women are calling on the Chairman of the Conservative Party Lord Feldman of Elstree to suspend Tory PCC candidate Jason Ablewhite after inappropriate comments made of Facebook regarding Gypsies and Traveller’s comes to light

NAGTRW has learned that the Tory Candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner and Executive leader of Huntingdon District Council had in that past made comments on Face book in which he made reference to people [apparently known to him] depicted in a photograph as “Pikey’s caught on camera !!” this was in response to another poster Tom Sanderson also believed to be a Tory  Councillor  with Huntingdon District Council,making the comment ‘ Someone give these two some tarmac to lay’

 

IMG_5287

Mr Ablewhite has passed the comments off as ‘ banter’ and says he apologises for any offence caused, telling the Cambridge News that it was ‘private at the time’ – “If its just private friends having a laugh, if it’s no different to if you’re just down the pub doing the same’ The comments were made in 2010, and Mr Ablewhite has pointed out that he was not leader of the Council at that time.

NAGTRW do not find Mr Ablewhite comments to be acceptable on any level and if anything his comments to the Cambridge News makes it very clear that, worryingly, he fails to see any wrong doing in using highly offensive racial terminology on a a Facebook page while posting as ‘ Councillor Jason Ablewhite’

The fact that a person that can make these comments in a public space [internet] and claims not feel it is in appropriate is deeply concerning when there is a possibility that the same person could hold a post as important as that of Police and Crime Commissioner.

NAGTRW would ask the Conservative Party to examine their Equalities Policies and to also consider the rights of Gypsies and Travellers not to be subjected to racial insults. It does not matter that the people in the photograph are not Gypsy or Traveller people, it is offensive that in order to take a rise from them he resorted to such terminology.

Mr Ablewhite can not be put forward as a responsible or appropriate candidate since these comments have come to light. If Mr Ablewhite were to make reference to any other ethnic group for similar purposes then he would certainly be held accountable and it would be an expectation of that accountability that he would be suspended – and the Gypsy and Traveller community have every right to expect the same.

In recent days much has been made of the Ken Livingston comments – and the word racist has been freely used by Tories – so let’s see what they are prepared to do when it’s one of their own.

Racism has cost Gypsy people the same horrendous fate as it has cost the Jewish community – we too were murdered in our tens on thousands in the Holocaust – yet the Tory Government REFUSE to appoint a Gypsy /Roma person to the UK Holocaust commission, so it will be interesting to see how they deal with Mr Ablewhite’s comments.

 

 

 

 

The Forgotten Voices Conference Budapest April 2016

FogVoi Poster

On April 6-7 2016 NAGTRW attended The Forgotten Voices Conference that was held at the Romanian Parliament in Budapest

The primary goal of this conference was to bring together various stakeholders to draw a parallel between the past and the present situation and explore how the causes of that tragedy are reflected in the discrimination, marginalization and persecution of the Roma, Gypsies & Travellers today. Furthermore There will be  a document produced which will serve as a basis for advocating for the recognition of the Roma genocide and of anti-Gypsyism as a specific form of discrimination at the European level.

 

FogVoicHolocause survivors
Two Roma Holocaust survivors and companion walk through the Parliament building to tell us their story

There were delegates from all over Europe who came together for this conference, we heard not only of the horrors of the Holocaust and the devastation it caused our people, but of the ongoing discrimination and hate crime our peoples are subjected to.

Fog Voice Shay
NAGTRW’s Shay Clipson attended the conference

A copy of the finished document will be published when available

 

Tamworth Herald Agree To Correct Misleading Article About Gypsies/Travellers After NAGTRW Complaint to IPSO

The Tamworth Herald has agreed to print a correction after they published an inaccurate article in relation to a group of Gypsy /Travellers. This agreement was reached after NAGTRW made a complaint to the Press watch dog IPSO [Independent Press Standards Organisation]

The complaint came after the Herald captioned a picture and also stated within their article that the group concerned had been ‘forced’ to move on.

NAGTRW had obtained a detailed Chronology from Warwickshire Police that clearly showed that no force [of any kind] was used.

Editor in Chief of the Tamworth Herald Gary Phelps has since contacted NAGTRW and agreed to make a correction. The correction will be worded as follows and will appear in the Thursday 21st April addition and will say the following;

“In the Herald of Thursday, March 31sth a story reported that a group of travellers had been ‘forced’ to leave Coleshill Memorial Park following negotiations with councillors and police. The Herald has been asked to point out that the group left of their own accord, and were not ‘forced’ to leave. We are happy to clarify this point and set the record straight.”

NAGTRW would encourage members of the Gypsy /Traveller community and advocates /activists to challenge misleading articles each and every time they see them.

Remember;

It should always be capitol ‘G’ for Gypsy, and capitol ‘T’ for Travellers,

Unauthorised encampments should not be described as ‘illegal’encampments.

All misleading and derogatory reporting should be challenged.

NAGTRW would suggest that you point out the following

“if you wouldn’t dare say it about another Ethnic minority – then don’t you dare say it about us’

National Alliance of Gypsy Traveller & Roma Women

 

NAGTRW Asks Local Government Ombudsman to Investigate Complaint Against Coventry City Council

National Alliance of Gypsy Traveller & Roma Women has issued a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman after an officer from Coventry City Council made in appropriate Comment about Gypsies /Travellers while speaking on BBC Radio

Coventry City Council failed to act when one of their officers made inappropriate and inaccurate comments about a group of Gypsy /Travellers that had set up an encampment in a neighbouring Coles Hill.

Speaking on BBC Radio Warwickshire on 31st March 2016 Nigel Clews Coventry City Councils Assistant Director of Property Asset Management made speculative comment in regard to a group of Gypsy /Travellers who had recently moved on from an unauthorised encampment at Coles Hill Memorial Park which is owned by Coleshill Town Town Council.Mr Clews made the following speculative comments surrounding the reasons why the Gypsy /Travellers moved on. NAGTRW cite these comments  as being speculative and discriminatory and breached Coventry City Councils public sector duties under the Equality Act 2010

[transcript of voice recording]

“In my view there was a threat of the use of Police powers move them on and there must have been some presence of – you know- other aggravating factors like anti-social behaviour or some criminal evidence-um-where the p0lice would have threatened presumably to arrest them and – um – you know’

Mr Clews admitted he had not received any confirmation of what had actually happened from Coles Hill Town Council, and it is clear that before making these comments he did not contact Warwickshire Police.

NAGTRW have contacted Warwickshire Police , who have been very helpful and provided a detailed chronology of what took place on the day in question, and the role the police played in relation to the unauthorised encampment.

The Police had not either used or threatened to use and ‘powers to move them on’ indeed the Gypsy/Travellers moved on of their own accord and after negotiation with Local Councillors.

As previously stated Coventry City Council like all other Local Authorities have public sector duties under the Equalities Act 2010 that require them to ‘foster good relations between people who share protected characteristics and people who do not share it’ Gypsies and Travellers are recognised Law as an ethnic minority, and are there fore people who share ‘protected charateristics’

Coventry City Council responded to a complaint made to them by NAGTRW, in a letter dated the 7th April 2016 Martin Yardley Executive Director of Coventry City Councils Place Direcorate dismissed NAGTRW’S complaint  and stated that  ‘The councils complaints process does have two stages, however due to the seniority of the officer being investigated I have treated this as a stage two complaint” he went on to say that if NAGTRW remained unhappy in the way in which the council has dealt with our complaint ‘you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman’

NAGTRW can confirm that a complaint has been lodged with the Local Authority Ombudsman and we are awaiting their response.

http://www.nagtrw.co.uk