RESIDENTS are to be given the power to force police to tackle anti-social behaviour and end the “horror stories” of communities blighted by nuisance neighbours, the Home Secretary will say today.
Theresa May will say that if five households complain about a repeated nuisance, the police and local authorities will be under a duty to investigate and devise a plan of action within a fortnight.
By Tom Whitehead Daily Telegraph 30 Jan 12
Whilst I applaud any proposal to require police and councils to take more seriously the issue of anti-social behaviour, there is a glaring loophole in these proposals. Not for the first time, a well meaning, but urban centric policy has completely ignored the rural dimension. Whilst it might be a no-brainer that a bunch of persistent yobs, will upset at least five separate households in a residential area, the same cannot be said for thousands of rural households. Drive around anywhere outside of our main towns and villages and you will see isolated homes, remote from any neighbour, let alone four others.
This new policy is very welcome, but like so many government policies in recent years, needs to be given far more thought and go through the apparently now forgotten process called ‘rural proofing’. The alternative, is numerous rural houses and hamlets of less that five houses, left to the mercies of the yobs driven out of urban areas by this new policy.
Theresa May displays an extraordinary lack of understanding of modern Britain, if she thinks the old model of permissive policing continues to be the way forward for dealing with these rioters.
Her generation, which is also mine, may well continue to have a life long respect for the police, but can this be said of many of the young people in this country? – I think not.
Witness the drunk behaviour of many thousands of our young people on our streets every Friday and Saturday night and the abuse our police officers experience when dealing with them. Witness the speed with which groups of jeering and abusive youths collect wherever police officers enter a rundown housing estate in pursuit of boy racers, or yobs on illegal motor bikes.
If these young people have no respect for the rule of law, or for the police officers charged with enforcing it, then in the short term, a different and possibly more aggressive, or even brutal, approach is needed.
Those arrested for any form of public order offence, should receive a good deal more than a police caution or an ASBO, both of which are worn as badges of honour by these often feral youths. Persistently drunken behaviour should always be rewarded with a 7 day stay in a drunk tank. Lower level criminal behaviour by an under 25, should see the culprit delivered in to the arms of disciplinarians and educators, based in a boot camp. Very expensive suggestions yes, but what’s the alternative, sweep it all under the political carpet and pretend it’s just a few bad eggs?
Longer term, we need to fix the broken society that has created these non- citizens, before they go on to spawn another lost generation.