PLEASE keep your letters to 250 words maximum giving your name, address and daytime telephone number - even on emails. Email: Write: Swindon Advertiser, 100 Victoria Road, Swindon, SN1 3BE. Phone: 01793 501806.

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Innovation needed

As strange as it may seem today there was a time when Swindon was the town in the region that led the way.

The Brunel shopping centre and Oasis leisure centre were two welcome developments which were admired from far and wide.

The Brunel Centre at the outset was alive with bustle and entertainment. But long since then an upper level has been added. The ground level has become cluttered and the potential to become an exciting venue with perhaps a locomotive as a centrepiece to attract visitors has been lost.

Away from the Brunel Centre numerous white fences hide derelict open spaces which make visiting the area an unattractive proposition. The fences will remain in place for a long time unless a leader with innovation. imagination and an ability to see a regeneration through to completion can be found.

Until then the provision of a green area could be the way forward and may even prove to be a lasting solution.

RON BURCHELL, Crombey Street, Swindon

Police are impartial...

The primary function of the police is to apply the law – impartially. Therefore, when on duty (particularly in uniform) they should not be seen to be ‘supporting’ (or opposed to) any particular group.

Thus, it is quite wrong for police officers to be allowed to wear “rainbow epaulettes” (SA “Wiltshire’s thin blue line gets a rainbow makeover” 11.9.17).

Clearly, as individuals, they may support, or oppose, any political party, religious group, or any other ‘lobbying’ group wishing to ‘make a point’.

But, when on duty, they must put aside any such allegiances and perform their duties professionally and impartially.

The wearing of any ‘emblem’ suggesting support for any particular group at least gives the impression that their impartiality might be compromised if any member of that group were seen to be breaking the law.

MALCOLM MORRISON, Prospect Hill, Swindon

...and unbiased

The Chief Constable of Wiltshire suggests that his officers may wear ‘rainbow epaulettes’ as a public display of their support for the lesbian, bisexual and transgender community (SA 11 Sept).

Whilst a noble sentiment, it is surely misplaced as the police should be scrupulous in their determination to avoid any grounds for an accusation of biased behaviour.

Richard Bennett, of the College of Policing said recently: “Our assumption is that every single person has biases. But the important thing if you’re someone acting on behalf of the state and exercising your powers is to recognise those biases and to ensure they do not impact on your decision-making.”

The Police Federation has confirmed that police officers must be apolitical, impartial and accountable for their actions. They are also required to abstain from any activity which is likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of duty, or to give the impression to the public that it may interfere. Publicly identifying with and supporting a particular social group may well give credibility to the view that impartiality has been sacrificed on the altar of political correctness; and one could legitimately ask where does such identification end? For example, if a constable wishes to be supportive of CND, would the Chief Constable allow that officer to wear an emblem signifying their support?

Some might say that a police officer has every right to attest to their own personally held views. The chairman of the Police Federation has suggested otherwise in saying “while it is an immense privilege to hold the Office of Constable, with that comes great responsibility and restrictions on professional and private lives.”

Every officer is required to make a declaration which covers appropriate support for every section of society and stresses the fact they will perform their duty with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental human rights and according equal respect to all people. Having made such an all encompassing pledge there appears little if any need to extend additional visible support for any particular section of the community.

DES MORGAN, Caraway Drive, Swindon

PCs are too PC

Whatever next? Police officers wearing rainbow epaulettes to show their support for the LGBT. Political correctness gone mad. It’s getting so that the heterosexual community are seen as second class citizens.

GARY HARDING, Redcliffe Street, Swindon

Don’t fine parents

I WAS upset to read that 500 local families have been fined for taking their children out of school for a holiday this year. Also to see a family looking so upset.

Parents have already taught their children so much before the even get to school. In fact they have the option to home school their offspring completely, if they choose, with no supervision.

If children behave badly at school they can be excluded completely. They are then offered just a few hours home tuition a week.

There can be many reasons why parents decide to take their children on holiday in term time clearly, and I think they should be able to do so!

AN EX-TEACHER, Address supplied

Children come first

I WOULD like to comment about today’s Advertiser, Nowhere to call home. Surely this should not be Tory/Labour bashing - it’s children’s lives here.

What has happened to all that money raised every year for Children in Need and Red Nose Day? That’s if it is a question of money. We have two members of parliament, let’s use them and put them to work, that’s what they are there for. So just write to them or phone them. It’s to do with us all, whatever your political persuasion.

ROY SMALL, Haydon Wick

Wonderful hospital

My husband and I would like to express our appreciation of the great care and kindness shown to me by all the staff at the Great Western Hospital during the past three months.

The paramedics who took me into A&E during the night; the staff in A&E for their kindness; the doctor and staff in the Cherwell Unit when I had scans; Dr Keightley and her team for day surgery on 27th June and major surgery on 23rd of August, a very caring team; the staff of Beech Ward for their loving dedication, in sometimes difficult circumstances – they are a credit to their profession; the caterers for the varied meals they provided within the constraint of cost; and the team of hygiene operators who keep the premises clean and presentable.

In our opinion, the people of Swindon are very fortunate to have such a great on wonderful hospital.

ESTER and BERRY DE LA HAYE, Henrietta Court, Swindon

Make a difference

This week is Lymphatic Cancer Awareness Week and we urge you to support our #whatmatters campaign.

Every 28 minutes someone is diagnosed with lymphoma. It is the UK’s fifth most common cancer, and the most common form of blood cancer, yet it is neither well known nor easily understood – and we want that to change.

Earlier this year the Lymphoma Association published a research report following a survey of 3,380 lymphoma patients. Understanding lymphoma as a cancer told us a lot about people’s experiences of being diagnosed, and living with, lymphoma.

During Lymphatic Cancer Awareness Week, and throughout September, we want to find out even more about #whatmatters to lymphoma patients and their loved ones, as well as to the health professionals who are caring for them.

We are calling on people across the UK who have had, or are living with, a lymphoma diagnosis to go to and take our #whatmatters survey so that we can better understand the impact a diagnosis can have and what needs to change to better support the 125,000 people in the UK currently living with lymphoma.

While lymphoma shares some similarities and characteristics with other types of cancer, there are important aspects where lymphoma differs. As the UK’s only charity solely dedicated to providing specialist information and support to people affected by lymphoma, we want to ensure that when it comes to the diagnosis, treatment, and aftercare of lymphoma, we are addressing exactly #whatmatters to those affected.

So, this Lymphatic Cancer Awareness Week, if you have been affected by lymphoma, please help us make a difference in the lives of others living with this disease and tell us #whatmatters to you.

JONATHAN PEARCE, Chief executive, Lymphoma Association

So generous

Now that the RNLI has decided that house to house collections are now no longer in the public interest the Highworth Branch asked for help to continue collecting for this worthy cause. We are pleased to have collected £593.25 on Saturday and £357.73 on Sunday making a total of £950.98. Our thanks go to all staff and customers for their kind generosity.

We still need more helpers, if you can help in any way then please contact me Ron Rose on 07759 439480. Thank You.

RON ROSE, Twickenham Close, Swindon