Thursday, June 22, 2006

Antisocial adults

Thanks to Liberal England for this story:

People are lying to the police about anti-social behaviour to get groups of children dispersed, police have said. A senior policeman admitted there was an increasing trend of residents calling to complain about innocent behaviour, like playing football.

Inspector Andy Ramsey, from Leicestershire Police, said incidents were exaggerated or even invented to ensure officers intervened.

Thank heavens the Leicestershire Police take a robust view of the situation - football-playing children in York might not be so lucky. The story ties in neatly with an editorial about the other current preoccupation in this week's Children Now:

Limiting inappropriate advertising to children would be helpful, but the fact is that even a complete ban on advertising junk food to children, in any medium, will still not stop the rise in childhood obesity. Allowing children the sorts of opportunities for outdoor physical play that were the norm in the 1970s and 80s would be far more effective.

Achieving that will be far more difficult, however, in the face of a culture of 8am to 6pm wraparound organised childcare, ever-shrinking and disappearing school playgrounds, fears about stranger danger and traffic, the gradual removal of anything resembling challenge and interest in dedicated play facilities due to safety concerns, and a general suspicion of children and young people in public places.

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