Parents have been banned from watching their own children enjoy two council-run adventure play areas because they have not been vetted by police.

Mums and dads have been told they will no longer be welcome in two play areas supervised by Watford Borough Council staff, from Monday (November 2).

The change in policy, at the Harwoods and Harebreaks recreation grounds, will see adults excluded from the fenced off parks, with children cared for exclusively by qualified and police vetted council staff, known as play rangers.

Mayor Dorothy Thornhill argued the council is merely enforcing Government policy at the play areas, in Vicarage Road and Leggatts Way respectively.

She said: “Sadly, in today's climate, you can’t have adults walking around unchecked in a children’s playground.”

Some parents, however, have lambasted the “ridiculous” and "crazy" decision which they say breaches their personal freedoms.

Mum-of-eight Jennifer Abbasi said: “I have been using the Harwoods playground for 18 years. I have every faith in the staff but there are not enough [three] on duty during a session.

“It is a sad day when parents cannot be involved with the enjoyment of their children and share valuable play time when it may be the only quality time spent together.”

Grandmother Mo Mills branded the decision as “crazy”. She said: “What am I supposed to do when I take my five-year-old granddaughter down there? Am I supposed to drop her off and say: ‘There you go, I’ll pick you up later?’. It’s crazy.”

Rebekah Makinson, mum-of-three, added: “We have used Harwoods since I was a child and my mother stayed with me. It has always had a fantastic community atmosphere. Even with the excellent staff employed it is ridiculous to assume that three staff members can safeguard the high volume of children that currently use the playground.

“Banning parents from an open access playground, I feel, is a breech of our personal freedom.

“I hope the council will overturn this decision otherwise we will not be visiting the site again.” Mayor Thornhill added: “The playgrounds are not a meeting place for adults. We have reviewed our procedures, so although previously some parents have stayed with their children at the discretion of our play-workers, this is not something we can continue to do.

“There are other places in the town for parents with small children to go.”