For some time now I’ve been resisting blogging about this for fear that my somewhat synical attitude to this kind of thing was just getting in the way, but after reading a few posts on the BBCs have your say I realise that I’m not alone in this, far from it, so I’m going to rock the boat a little bit.
The bottom line is I think that the law and society as a whole has far too soft a touch when it comes to dealing with yob culture and kids on the street that just don’t know how to behave. I really feel for the people who have been posting in have your say; they see a problem, have the presence of mind to tackle it but receive no support from the law. It has to stop.
Kids soon realise that if they lose out due to bad behaviour they shouldn’t misbehave. The thing is what disincentives do we have today? School teachers can’t even yell at misbehaving pupils anymore – there are laws against it that cause teachers to go through enquiries and be threatened with losing their jobs, members of the public who intervene when youths are causing trouble either risk being beaten up or stabbed by the youths in question, or picked up by the police later with a charge of assult on the basis of the say-so of a youth who cannot be charged under law with the vandalism they have just committed. So paying a home visit we hope that perhaps the parents can help, well no, the law stops that too. Smacking children has been banned and parents are threatened with social services by their own children. Even the police are reluctant to tackle youth crime because convictions are rare due to the age of many youth gangs.
We need to move away from the books of law and out onto the street to tackle this problem. Police need to be given the rights to stop paper pushing and deal directly with the issue, being given a ride in a police car isn’t enough, a clip round the ear is what these kids need to bring them into line. Parents need their rights back. While I accept that child abuse does go on and its shocking and needs to be dealt with, there is a huge difference between the good discipline of out of control teenagers and abuse. We need to ensure parents have the rights and are given the confidence by the police and the law to tackle the problem of yob culture directly – in the home. Then we have members of the public. It shouldn’t be their responsibility to approach youths causing trouble, but if they choose to they should be in the right under the law. It’s insane to charge a resident with asault on a youth when that youth is a part of a gang vandalising property all night every night – it’s common sense to see whos in the wrong here.
The police and the law need to put things into perspective. The resident who tries to stop yobs vandalising their car is not the criminal, the yobs are. This needs to be a clear point of law and one on which the power is put back into the hands of the victims of this kind of crime. The time has come for the police to stop reaching for the pen and get out onto the street. Its the only way we’re going to get back the kind of local communities we want to live in rather than the lunacy we have to put up with now.