A coalition of children’s charities called for the
government to change plans for antisocial behaviour rules after
research revealed the proposals could lead to tension between young
people and the police, writes Kendra
The Antisocial Behaviour Bill includes proposals for new police
powers to disperse groups of two or more children under 16 and for
the introduction of fast-track curfews.
Four out of five young people interviewed for an NOP poll,
commissioned by 13 charities, said plans for new police powers to
move them on for no reason could lead to clashes.
The charities, including The Children’s Society,
Barnardo’s, NCH, The National Youth Agency and National
Children’s Bureau said an amendment to the bill would ensure
local communities, including children, are consulted before action
Seventy per cent of 10-16 year-olds interviewed for the poll
said police should not have the powers to move them on if they
haven’t done anything wrong. Four out of five said curfews
were unfair because not all young people cause problems.
Children’s Society chief executive Bob Reitemeier called
the plans discriminatory and predicted they would damage relations
between young people and adults. He said ministers planned to
restrict the freedom of young people without asking them what they
think. Yet 90 per cent of those questioned said they should have
their say before the laws get the go ahead.
Graham Duffy, aged 16, said most young people,
“don’t hang out because they want to cause trouble –
they do so because there is little else for them to do”.
He added: “The police in my town are already moving young
people away from local ‘hangouts’, but they only end up
further down the town in even larger numbers or go to quieter
places which are less safe.”