The teenager vs Richmond on Thames

This is an encouraging story, a young person is challenging Richmonds Council’s use of “dispersal zones” as a form of curfew for under 16’s. The Young person “W” started the case in September but I guess it’s now reached court as the BBC covered it this morning. This could be an important case, particularly in light of all the “demonizing” of young people recently.

One Reply to “The teenager vs Richmond on Thames”

  1. I actually caught the report on this on PM on Radio 4 on the way home, which has left me somewhat in two minds. It is also worth clicking through to the article, and then on to the linked article about another dispersal zone on an estate in Nottingham.
    Hearing the local residents who live within the dispersal zones talk about the before and after, the Richmond zone has removed (or should that be moved elsewhere) a whole load of anti-social behaviour that was making the locals lives a misery. The same appears true in Nottingham.
    What is being challenged is part of the legislation that requires that minors (under 16’s) be accompanied by an adult between 9pm and 6am in the designated area.
    What struck me as interesting, was the lawyer representing “W” giving as reasons that a minor could be out and about at that time on their own, being Youth Group and Church Choir. The reason being that under our Better Safe that Sorry rules at both choir practice and Youth Group, we as leaders are not allowed to just let the young people wander off, in the case of Choir, all the parents have to physically come into the Church to collect their children, or designate someone else to collect them. So for Finchampstead at least, the two examples weren’t valid as our Church rules required that an adult collect their under-16’s.
    In general, whilst I can see the residents point of view, and see that in their eyes the zones are working, I do believe this is a classic example of symptom removal rather than addressing the real issues. Whilst giving the Police the ability to move on young people seems to have stopped the problems there, it has done nothing to address the underlying issues that caused the problems in the first place, and as Ian has said, serves to demonize young people as a whole in order to crack down on a minority.

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