Dave Durant says there was clear evidence that squatters had broken into Granby House in St John's Road, Bedminster, on Wednesday afternoon and police could have made arrests.
But he says they declined to use their discretion or collect evidence, hiding behind their fear of squatters' rights.Gosh. How surprising. You’d think they’d be only too happy to use any excuse to head off another potential problem area, wouldn’t you?
Mr Durant, who has a planning application in to turn the building into flats and houses, is concerned that by letting the squatters stay, their lives are at risk as the building is currently under renovation and has no staircases.
There is also a risk of exposed electrics as the building has been vandalised by thieves trying to steal copper.
The 59-year-old from Somerset says he is also concerned that he will be held responsible for any tragedy but feels that the police's failure to act should make them culpable as well.I don’t think he could be held responsible, surely? I mean, sure, maybe by the useful idiots, but not by anyone worth listening to..
But in a statement Avon and Somerset police say an investigation established there was no damage caused to the property and therefore the incident was a civil matter.It’s amazing how evidence has a way of disappearing when inconvenient.
He told the Post: "Everybody knows the law is an ass when it comes to squatting.
"The police arrived and there was evidence of bolt croppers being used to gain entry. Police say there was no evidence of forced entry but that is just not true.
"They could have cleared them out straight away but they didn't and now it's turning into a nightmare.
"Initially there were five and now people are saying there is about a dozen." Mr Durant said the experience had led him to have more contempt for the police than he did for the squatters.I can see why, frankly. It’s about time squatting was made a crime, and not merely a civil case. Then they’d have to act.
But it’s not just their failure to act that rankles:
Mr Durant also said he also could not understand why so many police needed to attend the scene if they could do nothing.
"I really, really object to five policemen turning up to tell you there's nothing they can do," he said.
"I cannot believe the police are under pressure if they can spare people to stand around for an hour."He’s got a point. Perhaps it’s like the old Soviet Union joke, reworked for Britain in 2012 – one who can read, one who can write, one to keep watch on the two dangerous intellectuals, and the other two…?