Snookered in Govanhill

Are responsible local residents snookered in Govanhill when it comes to demanding that law and order be upheld and that rules and regulations are adhered to?

Evening Times journalist Catriona Stewart reports that Police Scotland have no knowledge of any complaints or issues regarding the growing trend for closed down premises on Allison Street to be turned into unregulated ‘pop-up’ snooker venues frequented by primary school aged children.

However, Ms. Stewart writes that local residents should contact Police Scotland in future with any real or unreal concerns they may have about the row over possible anti-social behaviour associated with these alleged ‘pop-up’ snooker operations.

Many responsible Govanhill residents reading Ms. Stewart’s article in the Evening Times could be asking themselves the question are Police Scotland and Catriona Stewart for real? They’ve already come forward with their concerns  but were dismissed as nosy busy bodies intent on spoiling the enjoyment and fun of the Roma in Govanhill.

For the past ten months at least, Police Scotland and local councillor Soryia Siddique have been contacted on a regular basis about these unregulated and unsupervised ‘pop-up’ snooker halls. 

The response given was to stop being a nuisance and mind your own business.  If a leaseholder wanted to hand over the keys to Roma men and young boys to enjoy a wee bit of  snooker playing until well after midnight and sell some crisps and ginger , then so what.  It’s allowed and not against the law according to Police Scotland and Councillor Soryia Siddique. Nothing to see here, so move along and mind your own business.

It was of no concern to Police Scotland that children as young as primary school age were visiting these unregulated premises unsupervised and often during the hours when they should have been in school.

It was of no concern to Police Scotland that the adult males who were running the unregulated premises had not undergone background checks to validate that they were fit and proper persons to supervise children.

It was of no concern to Police Scotland that perhaps it was more than crisps and ginger that was being consumed by young children and adults in these ‘pop-up’ snooker venues. So what if underage teens had been spotted buying alcohol from the off-license next door then taking it into the ‘pop-up’ snooker venue.

It was of no concern to Police Scotland that drugs are sold openly at the corner of Westmoreland Street merely yards away from the unregulated ‘pop-up’ snooker venues. If the dealers wanted a wee game of snooker in between drug deals, then so what. It’s hard work standing at the corner day and night and they deserve a break just like the rest of us. 

It was considered hysterical thinking to be concerned that maybe just maybe  these drug dealers could use the vulnerable young children in the unregulated and unsupervised snooker halls as ‘mules’ to ferry smack or other illegal substances on their behalf. After all, any shrewd dealer knows there is less chance of  innocent children being stopped and searched by the local Community Police Officer.

Responsible residents living in properties adjacent to these unregulated and unsupervised ‘pop-up’ snooker venues have been dismissed by Police Scotland and local politicians such as Soryia Siddique as nosy troublesome neighbours. So what if the snooker players both young and old have used your close entrances as toilets and your backcourts as designated drug consumption areas.  

There was nothing rowdy whatsoever about police officers seen chasing a mob of Roma brandishing cue sticks heading towards another mob of Roma brandishing cue sticks down Allison Street last month. Police Scotland when asked have declined to confirm or deny the police chase. Perhaps it would be politically incorrect or culturally insensitive to do so. After all, only positive reports about the Roma are allowed in Govanhill.

Ms. Stewart also reports that Glasgow City Council Planning Enforcement Officers have at last been moved off their seats in the City Chambers and instructed to actually go visit the ‘pop-up’ snooker venues. Unfortunately the shutters were down and the premises appeared closed and so they left.

In order to prevent a wasted journey, the Planning Enforcement Officers should have waited at the corner of Westmoreland Street. Eventually one of the Roma males would have appeared with the key to open up shop for the day. Also any time after midnight is usually a good time to guarantee that the snooker playing and associated activities are well under way in the venues.

Not surprisingly, Councillor Siddique who is well versed in opaque political gobbledegook speak suggests that the Roma youth need more funding and investment for activities as part of the Govanhill Regeneration Plan.

Another more clear cut suggestion should be that Councillor Siddique along with Police Scotland focus on upholding law and order in Govanhill as the priority action of the so called Govanhill Regeneration Plan.

These unregulated and unsupervised operations should be closed down immediately and herself and Police Scotland should make it their priority to ensure that no more ‘pop-up’ snooker venues appear in Govanhill.

Unless they can manage to carry out such clear cut tasks and responsibilities, then decent Govanhill residents really are snookered when it comes to their politicians and Police Scotland upholding law and order and enforcing rules and regulations in Govanhill.

After all what is the use in coming forward if your politicians and police are useless at upholding law and order and enforcing rules and regulations. If this is indeed the situation, then the game is over and you are well and truly snookered in Govanhill.

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