Sixteen and 17 year olds will be subject to fixed penalty
notices for a range of misdemeanours including noise nuisance,
truancy and graffiti if measures now in the Antisocial Behaviour
Bill become law.
The bill, which received its second reading last week, has come
under fierce attack from children’s rights organisations.
The Children’s Society said it was “outraged” by proposals
in the bill to allow any police officer to impose an on-the-spot
curfew for children under age 16. This would seriously restrict
children’s freedom, including their opportunities to meet and
play, stated the charity.
Policy manager Sharon Moore asked: “Who determines the line
between children playing and being a nuisance? We recognise that
nuisance behaviour must be tackled. But these plans will label
vulnerable children as criminals for non-criminal behaviour –
pushing them towards a life of crime.”
The Children’s Society has also attacked proposals for
school staff to be able to fine children and their parents, which
would push families further into poverty.
Plans to increase landlords’ powers to evict families
would “not only fail to tackle the root causes of antisocial
behaviour but threaten children’s health and well-being”,