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Police must be wary

GILL Harris is not entirely correct in stating that Wiltshire police officers are being encouraged to wear rainbow epaulettes “to promote and support a more inclusive society’ which is often defined as ‘not excluding any section of society or any party involved in something.’ (SA 14 Sept).

The decision of the Chief Constable was made as a public display of their support for the lesbian, bisexual and transgender community which, while admirable could actually be perceived as a divisive action given that there will be some who, for a variety of reasons, do not agree with or support the need to promote the LBGT community, seeing it as a form of virtue signalling.

Gill offers your readers her personal viewpoint by way of lumping anyone who may have a different opinion to hers as a “bigoted thug” suggesting officers might be at risk of a beating by wearing a rainbow epaulette.

In a previous letter I quoted the chairman of the Police Federation, who has confirmed that police officers must be apolitical, impartial and accountable for their actions.

They are also required to abstain from activities likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of duty, or to give the impression to the public that it may interfere.

Wearing a rainbow epaulette is very likely to suggest that an officer supports the lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, after all that is its stated aim.

It may equally demonstrate that the officer is a member of the LGBT community, which is their right, but as the Police Federation has said with great powers comes great responsibility and restrictions on professional and private lives.

Would Gill be tolerant and agreeable to a police officer wearing a symbol supporting CND, Pro-Life, any Christian organisation or indeed any other interest group on the grounds that doing so fulfils her initial criteria of ‘not excluding any section of society or any party involved in something.’

DES MORGAN, Caraway Drive, Swindon

End homelessness

AT LAST a Swindon councillor, Emma Bushell (Lab), prepared to speak out on the plight and ever growing number of homeless people in Swindon, SA report September 8.

Well done Coun Bushell, in this case the report of an increase of 162 per cent of children now classed as homeless over the past five years.

You reported that Swindon Borough Council was keen to emphasise it’s a trend across the country. So that makes it acceptable does it SBC? What a disgraceful response.

As someone who has worked voluntarily for a local homeless charity for a fair few number of years I have seen an increase in the number of homeless people in the town over the last couple of years.

A lot of the reasons for homelessness? The austerity policies implemented by the Tory government. If you don’t believe me, look at the report by the National Audit office out this week.

Any working person who has supported these policies is as culpable as the Government. By voting them in you have endorsed their policies and given them the go ahead to carry on with their anti-working class agenda.

Even some hard-nosed Tories can no longer stand the stench of austerity and they have called for an end to it.

But wasn’t it some Tory MP who said homeless people are something you step over when coming out of the opera? That says it all about the Tories and homelessness in the UK.

MARK WEBB, Old Town, Swindon

Speak out over abuse

Thank you for printing the story of child abuse about Laura (SA August 9.) It is good the paper gets cases such as these out in the open.

I hope this young lady completes her book, it will help her own road to recovery. I am horrified at the length of time this abuse went on unnoticed.

Laura is 100 per cent right, to stand up now if even alone without the support of her siblings to expose this man who was her father. Both parents failed in their moral duty to protect her and the brothers and where was their love?

This father should be held accountable for his actions, he should be prosecuted and sent to prison. He should be named and shamed.

Report him Laura and get justice for yourself. Do not let this man have the luxury of anonymity and keep his dark secret to himself. He committed a crime which he needs to take ownership of.

My advice to this brave young lady is keep going on your project, seek counselling for yourself.

This story fills me with anger that it went on with people all around not picking up on it.

Children should be able to trust and rely on adults like teachers, hospital staff and neighbours or even other family members coming to their aid.

People should not think the child themselves have the courage to ring Childline even though I hope any abused or unhappy child will ring their number - it could just bring about an end to their suffering if they speak out.

MRS WHILE, Red Gables Close, Purton

Make gritting a priority

Swindon plans to reduce the amount of road gritting, according to your front page story (Sept 14).

Belle Vue Road was one of the streets mentioned, along with other steep roads in Old Town. Far from being avoided it should be these slopes that should be getting top priority for gritting.

The economy is booming and we have more people working than ever before, so one might wonder why we have permanent austerity, with Government still looking for cuts.

The problem is that there are too many office workers and not enough people making things. We need a change of direction in which supporting British industry is given top priority.

Industrial production targets for things made in Britain should be first thing that is debated in House of Commons each day.

TERRY HAYWARD, Burnham Road, Swindon