Sunday, 31 March 2013

Is It A Crime To Be Young?

In Barnsley town centre tonight and for the next six months the answer is yes. Anyone under 16 between 9.00pm and 6.00am will be in breach of a dispersal order, if not accompanied by adults. What a deeply depressing and spiteful course of action by the Police and Council. The justification is the need to clamp down on bad behaviour. But launching this blunderbuss at an entire generation is wrong. The message is that youth itself is a problem.
The use of youth dispersal orders is controversial but where they are used in residential areas to deal with harassment there is at least a level of justification. To employ this measure in a town centre, where lets be honest, congregating is meant to happen is deeply sad.
I hope the young people in Barnsley are able to find a voice that will be heard, but I suspect that the kind of Police that implemented this measure are not big on listening to or caring about what young people think.