Fury as cops tells residents to find empathy for 200 travellers who invaded their posh village just
Culled from Dail Mail
A police force that sparked fury after telling residents to have empathy with a group of 200 travellers they are trying to evict from their leafy village has said the Tweet was supposed to show impartiality, Daily Mail reported.
Locals living in well-heeled Long Ditton - where homes are valued at £1million - say that they are at their wits' end after a mob of 200 travellers decamped to their recreation ground from nearby Cobham.
Council bosses in Cobham obtained an eviction order from court and residents in Long Ditton are now pursuing the same action.
But Surrey Police has been blasted after local force Elmbridge Police suggested residents have sympathy for the travellers on social media, writing 'imagine how upsetting it would be, being uprooted every few days'.
Other Twitter users immediately pointed out that moving around to different locations was part of the traveller lifestyle. It comes as travellers camps have also been set up in Ham, west London, and Ringmer, East Sussex.
This evening the force said its Tweet was supposed to encourage impartial behaviour and encourage 'both sides of the discussion'.
‘We appreciate the concern it has raised, given the impact unauthorised encampments have had on the country,however we serve all communities equally and will not tolerate discriminatory behaviour,’ Elmbridge Police wrote.
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The Tweet sparked outrage, with one user telling the force to 'stop siding with the travellers' and another suggesting the force should 'stop being politically correct'.
The tweets from @ElmbridgeBeat said: 'This is not to say that we won't deal with criminality associated with encampments, of course we will.
'But we must ensure that we balance immediate action and due diligence in terms of a full scale eviction if the proportionality is there. Hope this helps!
'If we evidence a criminal damage then we would act. But can't usually. You say upsetting to endure, consider for a second, how upsetting it would be, being uprooted every few days. That's why we always act in the best interests of all parties with proportionality and legality.'
They also stated that Elmbridge Borough Council were taking the lead over how to deal with the situation.
A spokesman for the council said: 'In most instances, the issues arising from the encampment for the community are minimal Surrey Police have been made aware of the encampment and will be monitoring regularly.