Thursday, June 22, 2006

Criminalising the young

In our essay Cohesive Communities David Boyle and I wrote:
much of the impetus for the introduction of curfews arises from a lack of contact between the generations. Groups of teenagers hanging around can seem threatening to older people, but if communitarian policies and blanket restrictions lead to less contact between the generations, then such groups will come to seem even more threatening and there will be calls for curfews to be made even more restrictive.
As I recall, this paragraph was mine and I borrowed the argument from Stuart Waiton's Scared of the Kids?

With this in mind I was interested in this story on the BBC Leicestershire pages:

People are lying to the police about anti-social behaviour to get groups of children dispersed, police have said.

A senior policeman admitted there was an increasing trend of residents calling to complain about innocent behaviour, like playing football.

Inspector Andy Ramsey, from Leicestershire Police, said incidents were exaggerated or even invented to ensure officers intervened.

The danger is that official measures to combat antisocial behaviour will not strengthen communities nor even replace what a healthy community does for itself. The danger is that they will destroy community.

1 comment:

Martin Tod said...

One of the things I noticed as PPC in North West Hampshire was that, while there were some serious issues with anti-social behaviour, in some cases, the problem was kids playing or socialising in a place where there was nowhere for them to play - and thus causing irritation to other residents.

If they'd been doing similar things in some large middle-class back garden, no-one would have had a problem.