I came in this morning to two angry e:mails from constituents in the Findlays area of my ward complaining bitterly about the wanton damage wreaked on around 18 cars during the night by.. we don't know but folk locally have their thoughts.
As ever, its a small group damaging not just the property but the quality of life of many. I am working with police and the anti social behaviour team to solve this one but its not easy.
At a deeper level though I have to ask the question how did these kids get the idea that this kind of behaviour was acceptable? Or, as is more likely, they know its not acceptable but choose to do it anyway, so who has led them to that place where they make such a choice? It seems to me that they at least in part, learnt it in their living room and so I would suggest that as well as chasing the kids we should be confronting the adults involved and help them take some responsibility for the avtions of the kids.
Some years ago I set up a parenting project in my ward run by Circle to support parents whose kids were going off the rails. I also helped set up an city-wide early intervention project and supported the work of the Council's innovative Intensive family support service. Parenting is the hardest job in the world and we can all use a helping hand. The Circle project has proven to be hugely successful in giving that helping hand as have the other two, but they can only help so many, partly because of funding but also because there are some who can't or won't take the help they clearly need.
I want to help rather than simply condemn but I also want to challenge as part of beginning to get that help in past the doors behind which these kids learned how to make bad choices. I am not talking about prosecuting parents here but I am arguing that unless we help those adults who are at home with these kids, we'll never get the real change we need. Its time to use all the powers we have, and we have many, to offer and then if that's refused, to impose on these adults interventions like the kind of work Circle does, so that we can achieve not just change for them and their families but the kind of quality of life and peace and quiet we'd all like to enjoy.
Keith Simpson's Christmas Reading List
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