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Old 14th November 2009, 09:27 PM   #1 Expand/Collapse
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The Wombles The Wombles is offline 14th November 2009, 09:27 PM
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After several refusals for geocaching on their London Parks and then lobbying by a London cacher, I was invited for a meeting with their Deputy CEO, Head of Policy and a Sergeant from the Met Police.

They listened to the background and descriptions of geocaching and also to details of other landowner agreements eg NT and Met Police.

Unfortunately they felt that the proximity of the Parks to high security targets such as Government, Embassies and individuals would mean that geocaching in the parks would result in reports of suspicious behaviour and more "Stop and Searches".

They have therefore refused permission for caching in their parks.
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Old 14th November 2009, 10:52 PM
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Shame.
Thanks for the work.
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Old 16th November 2009, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by The Wombles View Post
They have therefore refused permission for caching in their parks.
I thought they were "our" parks? Tax paying public and all that......

Ah well, it doesn't really affect me, but it's a shame to see any blanket bans come in to force, especially after all the effort that is put in to trying to get an agreement. Cheers for trying Dave.
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Old 16th November 2009, 07:15 AM
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Maybe a letter to the Queen would move things along.... or several, having obtained permission from the two parks themselves where I have caches, I passed all their risk assessments. I for will be writing... Maxkim
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Old 16th November 2009, 07:31 AM
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It was a very good try, but the police do have a fair point. There is too much stop and search of innocent tourists in the Capital. Recently saw a 'stereotypical' Railway enthusiast being questionned by 4 policemen at Kings Cross!

On the other hand, if caching in the central parks is a bad idea, then maybe lets consider some of the dodgy activities that occur in the outlying parks such as Bushy. I hardly ever see police around there!
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Old 17th November 2009, 06:42 AM
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I thought they were "our" parks? Tax paying public and all that......
Unfortunately not. There is no right of access for the general public - only "grace and favour"
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Old 17th November 2009, 01:49 PM
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Be careful with that camera as well!
http://photographernotaterrorist.org/

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Photography is under attack. Across the country it that seems anyone with a camera is being targeted as a potential terrorist, whether amateur or professional, whether landscape, architectural or street photographer.
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Old 20th November 2009, 03:18 PM
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I have submitted a Petition to the Prime Minister for approval, as soon as it is listed I will post the link on here for those who wish to sign.
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Old 26th November 2009, 03:00 PM
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Following the ban I contacted the CEO of the ROyal PArks via EMail and have today recieved this reply:
<quote>
Dear Mr Mullans

Thank you for your email to Mark Camley. I can understand your disappointment that we do not allow geocaching in the Royal Parks. This is a longstanding policy and is not, as you imply, a new restriction. There are security and environmental reasons why we maintain this. This agency does not hold details of the number of stop and searches that have taken place relating to this activity, as enforcement issues are a matter for the police. However the police fully support the policy and agree that to allow geocaching in the estate could present security risks and resource pressures.

You mention Richmond and Bushy Parks. Richmond Park is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserve and as a European Special Area of Conservation. Burying a cache in the Park is actually an offence both under the Royal Parks Regulations and the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Earlier this year park staff discovered a large geocache which had been left at the base of a veteran oak tree. Whilst the person who put it there probably thought they were doing no harm, disturbance to this sensitive habitat is not acceptable. We are seeking similar protective SSSI designation for Bushy Park.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write and I am sorry that I am unable to give you a more positive reply.
<end of quote>

So all in all it is not looking good for Bushy Park in the future.
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Old 26th November 2009, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDick&Vick View Post
...
Burying a cache in the Park is actually an offence both under the Royal Parks Regulations and the Wildlife and Countryside Act
Sounds like he's not completely aware of the facts, but it I think he's said his bit and is unlikely to change his stance.

Good try, but I won't be holding my breath for a reversal of the decision.
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Old 26th November 2009, 04:56 PM
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We can possibly use a contact I have with Hampshire Wildlife Trust. If they're happy with us placing caches on SSSI's then we might be able to convince them in the long term.
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Old 26th November 2009, 07:56 PM
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For those that don't visit the "other place", I posted some questions about the Royal Parks CEO reply. I'm sure that some think it pointless and tiresome to keep on dragging this out...

But I don't think we should just let them go away satisfied that their ban has done the trick, without at least making them aware that we spotted that they hadn't done their homework before replying (indicating how little they thought we were worth spending time on!).

And I think that the GAGB is in the best position to reply and clear up these inaccuracies, rather than just hoping that the CEO will eventually be replaced with someone who can be bothered to check. If it's just left, the Royal Parks will never give permission as they'll have a file stating that geocachers bury large boxes in the Parks, that permission has never been granted, that SSSIs can't have geocaches, that there are policing and security issues (etc).

At the very least, we'll know a bit more about how to deal with it when permission gets refused.
Quote:
Thanks for sharing the reply with us. It highlights some interesting points which I think should be checked and clarified.

QUOTE(DrDick&Vick @ Nov 26 2009, 03:01 PM)

... I can understand your disappointment that we do not allow geocaching in the Royal Parks. This is a longstanding policy and is not, as you imply, a new restriction. ...


Is that so? Are all the people who claim to have "written permission" for caches in the Parks simply lying? Someone here is either fibbing or has been misinformed. If the policy was so long-standing, surely all Royal Parks officials would have been well aware and would never give permission.

QUOTE(DrDick&Vick @ Nov 26 2009, 03:01 PM)

...There are security and environmental reasons why we maintain this. This agency does not hold details of the number of stop and searches that have taken place relating to this activity, as enforcement issues are a matter for the police. However the police fully support the policy and agree that to allow geocaching in the estate could present security risks and resource pressures....


Bearing in mind that geocaching is pretty much on a par with playing frisbee or collecting conkers, what exactly are these security concerns unique to the Parks? I'm not really wanting to argue with them, but it's useful for us to know what trouble is actually perceived as being caused by people strolling around and inspecting the odd pile of leaves or park bench. It can't just be in the Parks that this causes nuisance and expense, so perhaps we should be aware from the point of view of ensuring cache activity is less troublesome in general.

QUOTE(DrDick&Vick @ Nov 26 2009, 03:01 PM)

...You mention Richmond and Bushy Parks. Richmond Park is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserve and as a European Special Area of Conservation. Burying a cache in the Park is actually an offence both under the Royal Parks Regulations and the Wildlife and Countryside Act. ...


As has been mentioned above, and we're all well aware, caches are not buried. This wording infers that the writer is not familiar with the nature of the game nor the guidelines or common practice of geocaching. I don't think that he means buried as in "covered with sticks". Also, caches within SSSIs, Nature Reserves etc. are quite common and in many places positively encouraged. Was the RP representative not told about that?

QUOTE(DrDick&Vick @ Nov 26 2009, 03:01 PM)

...Earlier this year park staff discovered a large geocache which had been left at the base of a veteran oak tree. Whilst the person who put it there probably thought they were doing no harm, disturbance to this sensitive habitat is not acceptable. We are seeking similar protective SSSI designation for Bushy Park....


Which cache was this? Was it really a "large" geocache, was it placed with permission, and how so, if it was (presumably) behind a barrier and off-limits to the public (as inferred - otherwise why would a cache cause more disturbance than the usual visitors, dogs, kids and so on)? I'm not doubting that something like this took place, but it would be educational to be familiar with the example. I'm sure the local reviewer would remember the incident.

I really think that the GAGB should immediately check the facts and then be in contact with the Royal Parks CEO. At the moment we seem to have been the victims of someone taking decisions based on false, misleading and inaccurate information. Of course, I don't expect the decision to change, but perhaps we could accept the ban more easily if we were convinced that it was backed by evidence and knowledge of the subject rather than what appears on the face of it to be assumptions based on faulty understanding and dubious assumptions.

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Old 26th November 2009, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
... I can understand your disappointment that we do not allow geocaching in the Royal Parks. This is a longstanding policy and is not, as you imply, a new restriction. ...


Is that so? Are all the people who claim to have "written permission" for caches in the Parks simply lying? Someone here is either fibbing or has been misinformed. If the policy was so long-standing, surely all Royal Parks officials would have been well aware and would never give permission.
I'll explain this point. The issue goes back to The Local Manager at Greenwich Park, on being asked for permission refused and requested all caches in the park were removed. This alone caused several people to be upset. A request was then made to the Royal Parks Management whose reply was that geocaching was not allowed in any of their properties.

As there were already caches located in other Royal Park Properties with the permission of the Local Managers. We decided to wait until negotiations between the GAGB and the Royal Park Senior Management were completed, before actioning these caches.

Last week a face to face meeting between the GAGB Negotiator and Senior Royal Parks Management took place. Also present was a member of the Met Police Royal Parks Department. At this meeting it was made very clear that Geocaching was not permitted in any of the Royal Parks Properties. And as the meeting was the culmination of the negotiations. The final decision had been received off the Senior Royal Parks Management, meaning that the permissions given by the local managers had been rescinded by their senior managers. All caches active in their properties, were now there without permission, and as such we had no option but to start the Archival Process.

Given that the person negotiating on behalf of the GAGB, is responsible for quite a few of the major landowner agreements. I believe he would have provided the Royal Parks Senior Management, with information that containers are not buried and that caches have been placed in SSSI's with the consent of the Designating Authorities.

The Royal Parks management is an executive agency of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Who have several Government Ministers .

Deci
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Old 26th November 2009, 11:26 PM
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Aha! So you confirm that the RP CEO speaks with forked tongue...

Quote:
This is a longstanding policy and is not, as you imply, a new restriction.
...not true. It's only been a policy since the Senior managers were asked to decide, and it appears that they don't actually know much about geocaching (or won't listen).
With all the senior and local managers involved, no wonder the default answer has to be "no". You'll never be able to get anything through that lot from the sounds of it. I hope the people who fund the Royal Parks are happy with these layers of bureaucracy. Imagine if you wanted an orienteering event - no chance!
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Old 27th November 2009, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
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Aha! So you confirm that the RP CEO speaks with forked tongue...


...not true. It's only been a policy since the Senior managers were asked to decide, and it appears that they don't actually know much about geocaching (or won't listen).
With all the senior and local managers involved, no wonder the default answer has to be "no". You'll never be able to get anything through that lot from the sounds of it. I hope the people who fund the Royal Parks are happy with these layers of bureaucracy. Imagine if you wanted an orienteering event - no chance!
Sorry but I didn't confirm anything, I just explained what happened in the Run up to the Face to Face Meeting. As from the Greenwich Park Local Manager banning geocaching to the meeting taking place, is a period of give or take 12 months. I leave each person to make their own decision as to whether this meets

Quote:
This is a longstanding policy and is not, as you imply, a new restriction.
Personally I don't intend expressing a opinion, either as a Reviewer or as a Member

Deci
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