In our line of work, we come into contact with travellers on an almost daily basis, and we have to
say, that we have built up reputations with many traveller communities in England and Wales, that are founded on mutual respect.
It’s part of the reason behind our 100% success rate with trespasser evictions.
That said, we do also know (from experience) that there can be a minority of individuals or groups, who tarnish the name for the rest of the community.
This troublesome small number can really make things difficult for the majority of travellers, who just want somewhere to stay, and who would never bring harm or an-social behaviour onto any site.
This is where it gets complicated…
You may have seen that holiday park giants, Pontins, have recently been criticised for the existence of a so called ‘Blacklist’.
The list, which was exposed to Downing Street and traveller charities by a whistle-blower, contains a series of surnames linked to travelling communities.
The names are quite obviously Irish, and it is made clear that people with this surname should be refused booking onto Pontins' sites, at all costs.
Now, we know how it looks, which is exactly how the Downing Street spokesperson has addressed it, but we feel that labelling this action as ‘racist’ is neither true or fair.
We’re obviously treading carefully here, and we fully understand this interpretaon of the list, but
there are two sides to every story.
Pontins big wigs say that the names on the list are connected to known traveller families in certain parts of the country, and are not blanket bans on ‘anyone with an Irish name’.
Nor are the bans intended to prevent all travellers from booking at Pontins.
In fact, Pontins is known for welcoming responsible traveller groups onto many of their sites, but you won’t see that in the mainstream media, it doesn’t have the same shock value.
The names on the list are connected to traveller families who have, at one time or another, caused issues at Pontins sites with things like breaches of the terms of entry, anti-social behaviour, forgery and even threatening and intimidating acts.
What else are Pontins supposed to do?
If the police don’t help. They can’t use facial recognition technology. They’re not prepared to lie down and take it.
We’re not suggesting that banning people based on their surname is the right way to go, and Pontins could definitely have handled this more professionally, but there are two sides to every story, and we think we owe it to the traveller communities we know, to distinguish the peaceful majority from the problematic minority, so we will.