'Chain gangs' a risk too far

Published: Thursday, 07 October 2021

I DOUBT I'm the only boater to read the article about the government's 'chain gang' policy to introduce work parties of robbers, burglars and thieves to our towpaths with some concern, writes Andrew Bailes.

Given the present use of the towpaths by other petty criminals—teenage drug dealers mostly, where we live—and itinerant rough-sleepers, to add to this lively mix a resentful and opportunist group of more serious offenders seems to me to be a risk too far.

Take advantage

It is easy to imagine how appealing our often easily accessible and lightly defended homes might look to these publicly-shamed persons. Is it not likely that, once un-chained, they might return to take advantage of such easy pickings?

The increasing number of vulnerable, often elderly or disabled boaters as well as single women living aboard are likely to be intimidated by the presence of these work parties, as well as being suddenly more visible in the often secluded moorings used both by liveaboard and holiday-making boaters.

Why inflict it on us

I wonder if those in the Cabinet as well as in the over-rewarded higher echelons of CaRT would welcome these work-parties behind their high mansion walls to clean their swimming pools and sweep the leaves from their tennis courts? And if not, why should they be so willing to inflict them upon us?