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Sally's Journal
April 16th, 2004
07:48 pm


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Teenage curfews

I'm not sure what to make of this. If I've interpreted what the BBC said correctly (and it's the strong impression I get from these articles and the news) certain areas of Britain now have a complete ban on unaccompanied under-16 year olds in public between the hours of 9pm and 6am. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm completely against yoofs. I'm fairly negative and misanthropic about most kids over the age of 10, and fully believe that the police should be able to do something about vandalism, and gangs actually being rude and intimidating to other people. And I'm sure the curfew is being interpreted sensitivly (actually, I'm not very sure, but you have to hope) and is only being used against groups of yobs, not nice young girls walking home from their friends houses. But all the same... to not be allowed in a public place at a certain time even if you're doing nothing wrong at all? I didn't believe this was a country that could do that sort of thing. Is it just because it only affects minors that they can legally do it, or could random police areas ban all decent law abiding people from walking their own streets at antisocial hours?

And is it only me that has a problem with this, or do I just have a biased sample of people due to being back at home? Am I just being naive and not accepting a reality where pleasenter living conditions has to mean fewer rights?

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2004 12:08 pm (UTC)
One might wonder if sane young girls would be walking home unaccompanied in a place where such a curfew was in effect....
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2004 01:55 pm (UTC)
Personally I wonder if the crime that (I assume) this curfew is to deter is actually being caused by under 16 year olds. I recall the yobbish groups that were a problem in Oxford were usually 16-18. Sure there were a few younger ones tagging along, but by the sounds of it, they would count in this curfew system as being 'accompanied' and hence ok. However, it did stipulate 'in the town center': possibly it's not in effect in the suburbs where you might want to walk to visit friends and so on.

[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2004 01:13 pm (UTC)
Well, yobs are getting younger, especially the further north you go. Most of the obnoxious brats near Foundation seemed under 16. But were perfectly capable of being extremely offensive *before* 9pm as well as after, so I'm not sure what effect the curfew has, unless it's just to scare them into being good all the time.

And I don't really care if it *actually* affects law abiding citizens or not, I just get offended that it *could*. Maybe that's stupid of me. Or maybe its because I've spent too much time reading M's book on Roman Catholics and homosexuality, which has some lovely clear well written bits on the difference between something being true about something, and something being the reason for something. So the people causing trouble are "under 16 and in the town centre after 9pm" and "violent, rude and causing vandelism". A ban on anyone "violent, rude and causing vandelism" in the town centre I have no problem with. But even if the two ""s refer and only refer to exactly the same people (ie, all under 16's in the town centre after 9pm are violent, rude and causing vandelism) it should be explicit in the curfew what they are being punished for, not coincidental side details which muddy the issue and could affect innocent people...
[User Picture]
Date:April 18th, 2004 08:38 am (UTC)
I think I agree (I got lost somewhere in the middle ;-) ) but perhaps you can see this law as both a prevention and a protection law: for the criminal aspect, it is to prevent them from causing harm, for the innocent half, it is to prevent them from coming to harm from the others. Although I have a problem with the government infringing rights for 'your benefit' there are times when it is necessary (nuclear reactors and such), and if there is enough crime to require a curfew, maybe there is also enough to discourage innocent people from getting in harms way.
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2004 02:35 pm (UTC)
It seems to imply there's a free police taxi service for under-16s. Would be really useful in this neck of the woods ("Hi, officer! Yes, I'm 16, really, I live in this village 10 miles away...")
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2004 02:53 pm (UTC)
Were I sufficiently cheeky, and that age, I'd be using it as such...
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2004 03:27 pm (UTC)
I know some people who did this once... they spent a bit more than they could afford in a club and couldn't afford a taxi so they called the police and said that they were being harassed by some yobs. Free lift home.
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2004 03:45 pm (UTC)
It is rather insidious but "for the best intentions" (I'm pretty sure the road to somewhere or other is paved with 'em...).

One thing, though: I'm pretty sure that it's illegal for the police to demand identification from law-abiding citizens without (at least suspicion of) criminal activity - we don't have ID cards, after all. Surely the kids could just claim to be over 18 and either force the police to arrest them (unlikely) or get away with it?
Date:April 16th, 2004 05:06 pm (UTC)
Minors don't vote, ergo there is nothing to stop government putting them all on the electric chair if it so desired. The biddies would probably approve of such a scheme ("ooh young man! i don't like the look of you you look... young!") and they are the biggest force at the ballot box.

I've just discovered that my perfectly legal and very feeble air pistol is now subject to me owning a firearms license while in Sussex or I'll have to spend a minimum of five years in the clink. How did I find out about this? From the local newspaper that I was in the process of putting in the bin. Turns out I have until the end of the month before I'm sent off to the Ministry of Truth for re-education. Rule Brittania, eh?
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2004 01:05 am (UTC)
All I can say is 'Aarrgh'.

And shake my head, in sheer disbelief.

Mind you, I grew up where you had to carry ID, right, or get taken down to the station for a bunch of hassle.

That sucked.

This sucks more.
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2004 01:17 am (UTC)
I'm with you, but I'm a dangerous loony socialist.
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2004 04:28 pm (UTC)
I don't like it, but I can't exactly pin down why I don't like it. Or let me put it like this. I don't like 'between the hours of x and y people below the age of z in place p will be under curfew' and I worry that if this scheme is partially successful someone will just fiddle the numbers until they produce something I think really is a problem.

However the critism "I don't like a piece of legislation that isn't being proposed, but is asthetically quite similar" is not a valid critism of a piece of legislation.

I can see pragmatically why they want it (but then if I cared about pragmatic, why would I be doing maths? Again not a valid criticism).

Have you see Minority Report? I spent most of the movie thinking "I don't like this system at all, but I'm having a hard time putting my finger on what's exactly wrong with it". I was quite glad at the end when they just kind of quietly agreed that it was wrong and disbanded the whole thing whilst carefully dodging the real issue.
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