A Preston skater claims he was verbally abused in Moor Park by a Covid marshal.Advertisement
Joshua Auhsoj has lodged a complaint with Preston City Council and is awaiting a full response.
In a video clip, passed by Joshua to Blog Preston and LancsLive, the Covid marshal is seen asking all the skaters to move off the skate park – located at the Deepdale Stadium end of Moor Park.
You can watch the clip below
And in a second clip, the marshal – who lifts his face mask briefly from his face – says to Mr Auhsoj, aged 28, “you want to be careful playing around with those kids, you’ll get a bad name for yourself pal.”
Read more: Covid marshals ‘failed to stop people gathering outside Avenham Park cafe’
Mr Auhsoj said: “The government decided that skateparks were closed, and deemed unsafe due to Covid regulations. Why then is the park still completely accessible? When the parks was closed first time, they at least put up tape, guidance was everything was closed.
“Personally, it feels like youths have been stripped of all accessibility to fitness and healthy sports during this pandemic, lots of children have been locked up for too long and they simply cannot be contained any more.
“After all, most users come in small numbers of one to two people, who they usually go to school with, or yes, we get the odd group who don’t even take part in the activities, but chose to sit on the grass and socialise.”
It is not clear at which point in the lockdown easing roadmap when the skate park will be reopened.
In the first national lockdown the Moor Park skate park was fenced off by Preston City Council, although the fencing was regularly moved and children and adults continued to use the skate park facility.
Joshua added: “These children, young adults, and long time practitioners are not just using the skateparks as a form a exercise, these are communities of people who simply push their bodies to the extreme for their each and every different reasons. Many of young adults and long time practitioners have suffered with mental health issues or other personal issues.
“Skating brings freedom to your mind, the level of concentration across the disciplines allows users to focus without much stopping them.
“Many of the users who are over 16+ are unable to return to work at the moment due to the nature of their work.”
See the latest coronavirus cases near you
A spokesperson for Preston City Council confirmed they are investigating the incident.
They also stated the skate park in Moor Park is officially closed along with all other outdoor sports facilities apart from children’s play areas.
The incident took place on Sunday (28 February) and Mr Auhsoj sent a letter of complaint to Preston City Council on Monday (1 March).
He received a response from divisional administrator Jackie Singleton who said: “I write to acknowledge receipt of your complaint which was received on Monday 1 March 2021. In accordance with the Council’s policy at Stage 1 the complaint will be investigated and a written response will be provided within 20 working days. If more time is needed a letter will be sent giving reasons for the delay and a new date for the response.
“The investigation into your complaint is being carried out by Alison Hatton, Community Safety Manager.”
The city council spokesperson said they would be making no further comment at this time.
Read more: Two areas in Penwortham are nearly Covid free
Guidance on the role of Covid marshals when they were introduced by the government state: “The role of Covid marshals is not to enforce the Covid-19 regulations, or have any enforcement powers, which should remain the remit of the police and designated local authority compliance and enforcement officers. COVID-19 secure marshals or equivalents should instead engage, explain and encourage best practice and national COVID-19 secure guidance as explained on the government website.”
Covid marshals are allowed to help by:
Covid marshals are funded by the government who gave local authorities £30million to recruit the marshals across the country.
Read more:Latest news and updates from Blog Preston