Waterway Manager apologises

Waterway Manager Mark Evans has apologised to the K&A boaters action group after the group contacted him to express concern about remarks made by some volunteer lock keepers and visitor mooring rangers. We publish the correspondence below:

Dear Kennet and Avon Boaters’ Action Group.

Thank you for the email below. I am disgusted to hear that volunteers who represent the Canal and River Trust have been acting in this inappropriate way and agree that in failing to maintain a professional attitude, the volunteers in question are bringing the Canal & River Trust into disrepute.

All volunteer lock keepers go through a comprehensive induction and training programme.

1. Meet and greet session for potential volunteers at Caen Hill Locks. (Demonstration of lock keeping by existing volunteers, Q&A session).

2. Volunteers selected from applications received.

3. Attend a 1 day comprehensive induction to Canal & River Trust.

4. Attend a 1 day Health & Safety Foundation Course.

5. On-site training days with existing qualified lock keepers and local site

6. Verbal & practical assessment for lock keeping.

Once all the stages have been completed the Volunteer Lock Keeper is ready to undertake lock keeping duties.

I will be contacting all our Volunteer Lock Keepers and Volunteer Mooring Rangers to remind them of their roles and responsibilities and the expectations which we have as an organisation in dealing with all our customers and visitors to our sites.

I will make sure they are aware of the following which you highlight:

That they should not make derogatory remarks to members of the public about or to any individual or group of people;

That their role does not include making accusations or allegations to or about any individual or group of people about non-compliance with the law, advisory guidance, terms or conditions and

That their role does not include enforcement and therefore they have no need to ask boaters how long they are staying or where they are going.

Please pass on my apologies to those affected.

Mark Evans
Waterway Manager
Tel 01380 737923
Mob 07917 050765
The Kennet & Avon and Bridgwater & Taunton Waterways, Canal & River Trust, Bath Road, Devizes, SN10 1QR.

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Dear Mr Evans

The K&A Boaters’ Action Group are contacting you to raise our concerns about the behaviour of some of the Volunteer Mooring Rangers and Volunteer Lock keepers towards boat dwellers without home moorings.

A boat dweller without a home mooring has informed the group that a Volunteer Lock Keeper at Bradford on Avon has referred to live-aboard boaters as “scrutters” and that “you can smell them a mile away”.

There have been other similar incidents with Volunteer Lock Keepers and Volunteer Mooring Rangers that have also been reported to the group. For example, another boat dweller without a home mooring was told by a Volunteer Mooring Ranger in Bath that “You’re one of these continuous cruisers who won’t obey the rules, aren’t you” and two Volunteer Lock Keepers at Crofton asked a boat dweller without a home mooring when he was going to move, and where he was going.

Until recently we have viewed these as isolated incidents. However the group has now received enough similar reports to see a pattern of derogatory attitudes and remarks, and intrusive questions, made both about and to boat dwellers without home moorings on the Kennet and Avon Canal by Volunteer Lock Keepers and Volunteer Mooring Rangers.

Obviously in failing to maintain a professional attitude, the volunteers in question are bringing the Canal & River Trust into disrepute. We would be grateful if you would ensure that volunteers who deal with the public are informed that:

they should not make derogatory remarks to members of the public about or to any individual or group of people;

their role does not include making accusations or allegations to or about any individual or group of people about non-compliance with the law, advisory guidance, terms or conditions and

their role does not include enforcement and therefore they have no need to ask boaters how long they are staying or where they are going.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

The Kennet and Avon Boaters’ Action Group

 

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