Puzzled by the police during Eastbourne bin strikes

From: Mike Grant, Beach Road, Eastbourne

Whilst I welcomed the settlement of the pay dispute between the GMB union and Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) that was announced on Tuesday I was left puzzled and annoyed by the actions of Sussex Police during the strike.

Specifically I refer to the obstruction of the bin lorry depot by picketing GMB workers. As EBC wrote on its website on Friday January 14: “The GMB Union has again blocked our vehicles from leaving the Courtlands Road depot…Just 19 out of 88 staff are on strike. In addition to being unlawful, it is wholly wrong that a trade union is prepared to prevent people who want to work from collecting the refuse and recycling from local homes.”

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On checking the gov.uk website on the laws of picketing, it is abundantly clear that EBC is entirely correct.

Eastbourne bin strike 7/1/22. Photo taken in Courtlands Road. Photo by Justin Lycett. SUS-220701-112428001

Amongst other illegal actions it stated that it is a criminal offence to block people or vehicles trying to get into the workplace which is on strike (called ‘causing an obstruction’ by police).

The question is why didn’t the police clear or arrest the obstructing pickets if they were engaged in a criminal act?

It is no different in principle to removing Insulate Britain protesters blocking the highways.

So what were the police doing? According to the EBC post last Friday: “Sussex Police are closely monitoring the situation.”

Really! Robust policing at its finest. Hopefully they also checked on the welfare of those outside the depot gates.

Just what are Sussex Police for if they fail to intervene in criminal acts right in front of their noses?

Maybe there was insufficient evidence. At the same time Sussex Police are no doubt dealing with non-crime hate incidents.

It is a dystopian world where police ignore real crime but investigate non-crime. I wonder how may non-crime hate incidents Sussex police have recorded?

Hopefully lots, as one comedian quipped, it is outrageous that people have been getting away with non-crime for ages.

EBC should make a complaint to Sussex Police on behalf of Eastbourne’s residents and request a refund of their costs.

Those who paid for private rubbish collections should also be reimbursed.