Jacqui Cheer, the chief constable of Cleveland, and the Association of Chief Police Officers' lead on children and youth, said society was becoming "quite intolerant" of young people in public spaces, and the public and police were too ready to label "what looks like growing up to me as antisocial behaviour".Oh, but society seems to be rather too tolerant of other things, especially in the area of identity politics…
She said police and public had to understand that antisocial behaviour "is not just being annoying or being in the wrong place at the wrong time or there's more than three of you".And yet…haven’t we constantly been told that certain other behaviours are in the eye of the beholder? And the police have enthusiastically gone along with that.
So it’s odd that you would think that that process should somehow halt there, and not be extended to other areas..
And she said she feared that new legislation would mean treating more childhood behaviour as antisocial. "It's a personal view that behaviour that at the moment is not included will be included into the future," she said.Yes. It’s called ‘mission creep’, it happens all the time. You ought to know, it happens often enough in the police farce, doesn’t it?
Cheer told the all-party parliamentary group on children that it was not surprising that children gathered in the streets when a lot of the places they could go had been closed down or fenced off.Yes, indeed, some have been, mostly because they broke them!
She said frontline police officers were receiving calls from the members of the public about the presence of young people and were being faced with a decision about whether to speak to them, perhaps antagonising them by asking them what they are up to or to be quiet or even to move on.Funny, you never seem to worry about ‘antagonising’ the law abiding public, only certain special interest groups.
Her intervention was welcomed by the chief executive of the National Children's Bureau, Hilary Emery, who predicted that the antisocial behaviour bill would have perverse and harmful consequences.
"We are concerned that children and teenagers will get into trouble with the law just for being annoying, and that it will penalise them from doing things that all children do as part of growing up – playing in the street, kicking a ball around in a public space or hanging around with their friends," Emery said.
"It threatens to further increase the divide between generations, alienate children and divert the police from fighting genuine crimes."Oh, I wouldn’t worry. The police are perfectly capable of finding their own ways to divert themselves from that…