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Tuesday, August 24, 2004


After months of macho posturing on Law and Order issues, particularly during by-election campaigns, at last we have some commonsense. Inevitably, these words of wisdom do not come from a politician but from a serving Police Officer.

The premise of the South Wales Chief Constable, that curfews should only be imposed as a measure of last resort, is a kick in the teeth for the new 'hang-em and flog-em' brigade in the Labour Government, who seem to have taken the stance that anything goes in the war on yobs. Barbara Wilding is not opposed to using curfews in the right circumstances but she quite reasonably points out that if we have to use them then that is a sign of failure.

She also states that we have to recognise that there are many causes of misbehaviour and that we have to deal with these causes. That is the part of Tony Blair's "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" that the Government seems to have forgotten about. In her words, "Demonising of children by putting lots of orders against them is not where I come from because it shows that the agencies have failed." She concludes that there has to be a balance, recognising the positive contributions many young people make, while managing those "very disruptive elements."

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