London imposes de-facto 9PM curfew on under-16s

London cops have been given the power to "disperse" anyone under 16, gathered in groups of two or more, from almost all of central London, after 9PM. The police don't have to see the kids doing anything wrong, they only have to believe "the presence or behaviour of a group of two or more persons in any public place in the relevant locality has resulted, or is likely to result, in any members of the public being intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed."

If you’re observant, in central London, you may have seen this notice casually cable-tied to a lamppost. From afar, it looks like a council planning application, or parking bay suspension. It’s actually notifying you that you’re now subject to an anti-social behaviour order, and the Police (and the not-really-Police Community Support Officers) have special powers to remove you from this area if they feel like it. These dispersal areas cover large swathes of London, and other cities in England. There are now over 1000 such areas.

It’s ambiguously worded, but it institutes law that in other words may not seem so palatable. There’s a curfew for unsupervised under-16s, from 9pm to 6am. Any group of 2 or more people can be broken up and/or that the member of the group have to leave the designated area (if they do not live there). Crucially, police do not have to see actual anti-social behaviour, but a constable in uniform has reasonable grounds for believing that the presence or behaviour of a group of two or more persons in any public place in the relevant locality has resulted, or is likely to result, in any members of the public being intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed...

the kids are alright (via Wonderland)


  1. I DJed at an all ages club in Reno in the mid 90’s. The Club wasn’t near the casinos but we were on the wrong side of the street for the 9pm under 18 curfew. Every night at 9pm, and again for every hour after that four police would come in and card everyone. Two girls went to a “work camp for girls” after their second offense.

    Two of the regulars worked at Kinkos, they printed up 100,000 stickers that read:

    “Welcome to Reno, the town that eats it’s[SIC] own youth”

    Over the next few years those stickers ended up EVERYWHERE. 15 years later I still see them when I visit.

  2. The area that is subject to this new law looks like someone is showing the reader a huge middle finger. How appropriate…

  3. Well, to put things in perspective a little. There has been a literal explosion of gang related violent crime in London. Underaged kids are killing each other. Usualy with knives.
    I agree that a curfew is a serious infringement on peoples rights, but if you get confonted with kids bleeding to death on the sidewalk every week, you might be willing to try more desperate measures.

  4. Fuck age-ism! Over 18s cause much more drunken violence in the UK, if you believe the statistics on ASBO convictions.

  5. is there some way that the logical culmination of this can be headed off? Every indication in the press shows Britain heading for a summer of rage – and every action by the government seems calculated to incite this. It’s obvious they want violence so they can have some killings and thereby justify even more heavy-handed repression. When will it be enough for them? Even now, someone is walking and breathing and slated for execution by police bullet or club in a few months time. This is like watching a slow motion car wreck and being helpless to stop the planned and inevitable. What kind of people can be party to this?

  6. “Educational Decree No. 98: Those wishing to join the Inquisitorial Squad for extra credit may sign up in the High Inquisitor’s Office…”
    — Imelda Staunton as the voice of “Dolores Jane Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  7. The kids are not alright, I got one hell of a beating last year by a pack of feral teenagers. My heinous wrongdoing? Defending my girlfriend from a Lord of the Flies leftover who took offense at the fact she walked too close to her toddler (instead of crossing the road).

    I can’t begin to describe how messed up the local teenagers are in parts of London, here in Kilburn the ones that loiter on the streets all night were essentially abandoned by their parents, schools and communities years ago, hell most of them are already parents themselves.

    This police action as usual doesn’t solve the problem, just one of the symptoms, namely middle class folks like myself getting the living crap kicked out of them. I’d rather a real solution but I’m afraid I’ll welcome this one for now.

  8. I hope they’ll teach the kids a real lesson and pass the Millennial Educational Reform Act (BR act). Seems like the next logical step.

  9. I’m willing to be open-minded on this:

    Why would under-16s be wandering around unsupervised after 9 pm, please?

    They’re not going to school…they’re not going *to* work (yes, they could be on their way home)…they’re probably not headed out to visit family (friends, possibly — quite possibly headed home after 9 pm, at which point being told to go home? shrug/whatever)

    I’m not screaming oppression, I’m not screaming free-range kids…I genuinely want to know what a gaggle of young teens would be doing after 9 pm that would require them to be unsupervised.

  10. It’s like they’re actually TRYING to turn the UK into Airstrip One…


  11. Seriously there needs to be a revolution, soon!
    Just… you know, make sure you do it before curfew. :)

    I’m an anarchist and generaly I don’t beleive in violence, even if it is against the state/police’s violence. But stuff like this sometimes just makes me want to wear a Guy Fawkes mask and blow things up.

  12. I think the boundary area looks like a dick. Could that be a coincidence?

    How close to people have to be to each other to be considered a group??

  13. .
    28)Then they came for the teenagers.
    29)Then they came for the ?

    …When will they get around to me?

    *waits patiently*

    I’m sure it won’t be long.

  14. “any members of the public being intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed…”

    If that’s the wording they actually use, then won’t they be more or less obligated to remove themselves from the area?

  15. Back in 1981, I was a teenager living in Thatcher’s Britain. Something happened then that I don’t think Britain has ever recovered from: the death of neighbourhood social life. The Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 was the last time I remember small local urban communities and people of all ages coming together and having fun. After that (and in stark stark contrast to the Golden Jubilee) cities became cold, impersonal jungles. This may have also been solidified by the unemployment of “Maggie’s Millions” that I became part of in my early 20’s. Punk’s ethos of “no future” really seemed to actually happen for a lot of people, and you see these people even now. I think we’re currently getting another spasm of all that, but I’m in my 30’s now and I’m worried about those kids. I really am. When authority’s sole reaction is to control and smack down – I think it’s going to get ugly again:

  16. Ya need to keep The City safe for important people like derivative traders and hedge fund brokers.

  17. It seems the kids can’t win. On the one hand they’re anti-social yobbos intimidating “decent” people, on the other, they are lard-arsed slobs glued to a screen of some description. Urgh.

    Seriously though, I don’t wish to be flippant about teen violence. When will people realise that the problem is poverty. The problem was always poverty and will always be poverty. And I wish to hear nothing about how teenagers are lucky because they have (insert your own modern gadget here) because the point about poverty is that it is based on relative inequalities. This is what has happened in the west…we now have a class of uber-rich who are so far divorced from the realities of life, while we have a class of people who have never worked (nor have their parents, grandparents…) and have no stake in society. Why *would* they care what an effing Daily Mail reader thinks?

    So instead of trying to criminalise the young for being young, let’s tackle inequality and social injustice.

  18. Recently (I don’t have the url to hand) a statistician pointed out that London isn’t experiencing an unusual amount of violence – it’s all perfectly within the expected historical trends.

    As an aside some ten years ago I read an opinion piece by a demographer who said that youth violence in the west would increase substantially from about 2007 through to 2017 because that’s when the next youthful bulge in populations would occur -= and young men are responsible for most violence.

    However while that was an apparently accurate prediction most objective reporting on the topic tells us youthful violence everywhere is lower than it was a decade ago.

    While youth everywhere (living in cities not designed for them) are being demonised.

  19. well in the US kids under 18 have a curfew of like around 11 thats changes from town to town. 9 is def too early but i mean those are kids that go to school so what are they gunna be doing out at midnight anyway. i dont think of this law as being a big deal seeing as towns in the US have similar laws and its only for kids. its not like they have to be home. just not hanging out in the streets

  20. 9pm seems like a reasonable sort of time to have your (15 and under) ‘children’ indoors by. The real shame here is that people need to be told that by a policeman. IMO.

  21. It’s not a curfew for under-16s. Well it is, but it’s more than that.

    Here’s the relevant legislation: Part 4 Dispersal of groups etc.
    30 Dispersal of groups and removal of persons under 16 to their place of residence

    It’s got two parts. One provides for a curfew for under-16s. One provides for the dispersal of groups. The groups need not, as far as I can see, be comprised of people under 16. You might have, let’s say, a married couple in their forties walking down the street. A constable (police officer) or a “community support officer” (not a police officer, but they get to wear a uniform) hears the couple arguing and tells them to:
    1) Disperse immediately (that is, separate and don’t get back together);
    2) Leave the area;
    3) Keep out of the area for 24 hours.

    It seems to me that the constable or community support officer will have acted quite legally.

    The test is whether the C-or-CSO has “reasonable grounds” (that is, it isn’t unreasonable to think) that the presence or behavior of at least one member of the couple is “likely” (that is, has a greater than 50% chance) of “any members of the public being intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed.” I can easily imagine somebody being alarmed or distressed at the sight of an arguing couple, and my guess is that a court would tend to agree. It shouldn’t be put in that position, of course, but that’s the law.

    Here’s another example. Someone approaches a C-or-CSO and says “Officer, that black man over there scares me. What’s he doing in my neighbourhood. We’re decent people, we are, we don’t need the likes of him hanging around.” Now, in a better world the police officer would say “I’m sorry, I can’t arrest someone just on the vicious xenophobic rantings of an idiot like yourself, sir.” With the help of the Act, this has changed. As long as the man in question is part of a “group” – that is, two or more people – the C-or-CSO can tell that man (and not necessarily any other members of his group) to leave the area for up to 24 hours. And it seems to me that the officer will be acting entirely lawfully, because the fact that the person “alarmed or distressed” is a total nutter doesn’t change the fact that a subjective feeling is sufficient to trigger the Act.

    What a dogs’ breakfast.

  22. It’s always been this way. “You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.” Police have always been able to arrest people at their whim and without justification.

  23. If they really want to improve London, it should be a mandatory ten o’clock curfew for Pete Doherty.

  24. I completely agree with this law.

    Kids who are gathered in public are nothing but trouble waiting to happen. Especially in the evening.

    They need to be gathered in private, somewhere off the street and away from public view. That way nothing bad like drugs or crime or sex or evil will happen to them. Kids are perfectly safe indoors, it’s outside where all the bad things happen, I believe science has proved this.

    Note: I also believe in Santa, the tooth fairy and the efficacy of the infield fly rules

  25. This is just nuts to me. This isn’t about poverty though. If everyone who is in supposed ‘poverty’ acted out every city in the world would burn. In the U.S. at least I’ve never had an issue with a supposed curfew when I was a kid. We’d be out all hours of the night and morning and never get hassled by Police. As long as we weren’t burning something down or falling down drunk on our face they could care less. Or if we were obviously drunk they’d take our name and address and then tell us to go home, or sometimes drive us home.

    It’s a different world, people say, it’s a different time, they say. One thing hasn’t changed, and that’s people. This is about one thing, and one thing only, control. They start with a curfew for a group that sounds reasonable to adults. “Yes yes! Teens under 16 should be at home, doing school work. Yes that’s it!” – excuse me but with the disintegration of the family unit in the ‘West’, is their a home that they actually want to be at, or one to go home to?

    Who next get’s a curfew?

  26. Anti-social to whom?

    Providing kids with opportunities to learn social skills un-supervised is being “social”. Removing this is being anti-social.

  27. More important is that these areas are also about the “Dispersal of Groups” *of any age*.

    So, no fun flash mobs – no political demonstrations, no meeting of two or more people for whatever reason. There are a number of Embassies and “public squares” in this area.

    Expect to see this being used first for political demos.

  28. Scary. Shades of V For Vendetta come to mind. Not long now before the curfew is extended to all persons. Next we get rid of those nasty liberals and hamo sexuals.

    Creedy’s black bags await all of us who stand up for our rights and freedoms.

  29. I have a personal perspective on this. I used to live on a council estate in Camden Town, North London. I was there for about fifteen years, and towards the end of that period, the estate became a hangout for one of the gangs operating in the area. Camden has a serious problem with the Somali gangs that run the drugs trade around the canal, and the violence that they cause. Notwithstanding the fact that most of these kids are fourteen, fifteen, we’re seeing brawls, fatal stabbings and recently a boy executed with a gunshot to the head. ( ; .)

    TMS (The Money Squad) started hanging around my estate a few years back. You’d see knots of five or six kids at a time lounging around in the communal playground, chatting and occasionally smoking some dope in the stairwells. They seemed pretty harmless initially; these are children after all, and I’m as sympathetic to their predicament as anyone here. But over time it started to get ugly. Tenants were harassed and robbed on their way in and out of the block. The gangs started to deal out of the lifts. In the summer there would be thirty or forty children of all ages out there of an evening.

    Soon they started to bring their dogs. The playground became an impromptu dog-fighting arena. The older kids thought that was a big laugh, the toddlers wondered why there was blood on the swing set the next day. A week after that started I came home one evening to find West Side Story happening on my doorstep – a 20 on 20 melee with bike chains, bottles and wooden clubs. I called the cops but as soon as they turned up everyone scattered out of the estate in all directions. The next day the council went through the hedgerows in our gardens and found knives and spears, for heaven’s sake.

    We formed a community association and over the course of about a year put pressure on the police and the council to do something about the problem. One consequence of this was that our estate – which was always a rather charming, old-fashioned 1950s development – sprouted iron spikes and railings everywhere, security gates and honest-to-god crenellations. Another was that – after a year-long process of scrutiny – one of these control zones went into effect covering it.

    I understand how illiberal the policy seems – how illiberal it is, in fact. I don’t like it. But I’ve seen the way it works. The trouble – the violence, the attitude, the drug dealing – starts once there’s fifteen or twenty kids around at any one time, and once that’s been going on for a while without challenge; there’s a critical mass when they start to feel they own the place. The control order meant that the smaller groups got moved along before that happened.

    We immediately saw an improvement and today – 18 months later – it’s pretty much back to the way it was before. The order has expired and hopefully won’t be needed again. Now, I understand that this just moved the problem elsewhere. In fact, the reason they ended up on our estate in the first place was probably that following the Osman murder they were shooed out of central Camden Town. But it was the only recourse that we as a community had available to us.

  30. #14 / OASISOB1:

    My first thought was that the outline looked like a middle finger, which I feel to be also appropriate.

  31. Hey England, between your ubiquitous security cameras, your draconian civil rights laws, your antiquated (powerless) monarchy, and your police-state mentality, you let us know how well your little experiment with fascism goes, maybe you’ll get lucky, cause you know noone elses fascist state has failed or anything… You know V for Vendetta was just a graphic novel / movie right, not a blueprint for success?

  32. That is really not good. This place is getting more and more totalitarian with every passing month. If some nutter decides to actually use all these laws we have now, the UK would be a police state to shame ‘Brazil’.

  33. Growing up I was subject to a curfew…and it was no big deal. Now, laws and policies are different here in the US thank the UK, and I recognize that but really? This is no big deal and is probably a good idea. 9pm does seem a bit early, but again, this is no big deal.

  34. Ceronomus, read comment 23. This isn’t about kids having a curfew, it’s about the police having the right to tell anyone to disperse and leave. That is pretty damn scary, if you ask me.

  35. Philly, as well as other US cities, had curfews in the late ’80s to early ’90s. i was an exchange student in Philly, coming from Germany and was quite surprise by that … i admit though that it saved my life in one instant since i avoided a drive by shooting by 10 minutes due to the curfew making me to head home from a bar.

  36. Everyone who’s worried that this will be used to suppress dissent, protest etc need to remember that the police already have plenty of abusive ‘anti-terror’ legislation at their disposal. This process (which requires authorization by the local council and extensive consultation with the local community) is relatively cumbersome for those purposes.

  37. And the law states that this is in response to problems caused by loitering groups in those areas. It is POTENTIALLY scary, but also seems based on a real problem. I have no issue with laws that are created based on problems that actually serve a purpose. Considering that section 4 is a “Disperse or go home (if you don’t live around here), it isn’t so bad.

    Yes, there is potential for abuse. But again, this seems to be a reaction to a problem. So, if there hadn’t been a problem, there wouldn’t have been a law.

  38. @marcel

    Yes. But the bizarre thing is, that area shown on the map is not an estate with a massive problem of stabbings. It’s the West End, covering if I’m not mistaken the Strand through to Soho, Oxford Street with the ‘finger’ extending to Euston. Not exactly gang territory, at least that i’ve noticed.

    More tourists, shoppers, office/media workers, and clubs.

    No bankers to protect either, thequickbrownfox.

    I suspect it’s being used to target drunks more than knife and gang crime.

  39. @Ginntonique

    I suppose there might be gangs of pickpockets to reckon with in that area. But no, it’s odd.

  40. Once the bad seeds realise that all it takes is will to completely rule over timid, civilised folk, the civilised folk need a gun to reclaim their territory.

    I like to think of myself as a civil libertarian, but I come from a country that went from very literal fascism – with police in APCs patrolling the streets – to “liberalised” near-anarchy that saw friends and family murdered. I didn’t like the APCs, but if I had to choose…

    In the end I left for Australia.

  41. My US suburb instituted a curfew while I was in high school. It started out something unreasonably early like 9 or 10.

    The reason I remember this is that curfews that early mean that *school* functions like games or concerts could easily conflict if you were part of the group and had to clean/lock up after.

    Me and two of my friends got trailed by a cop car for the mile between the football field and my house after one game went into overtime. Not sure what he found threatening about three short, nerdy girls who had gone primarily because it was an ‘ok’ place to be outside after dark.

  42. I personally do not see the problem. Children under 16 on the streets after 9pm till 6am is not a good thing. That means they are 15 years of age or younger. Who ever thinks it is ok for them to be out in public that late at night unsupervised is not thinking straight or a child themselves.

    Here in Canada there is a curfew on the books, been there for decades, children under 16 have to be supervised in public after 10pm. Its not enforced regularly but its there none the less. Last thing you would want to meet late at night is a pack of little juvy’s acting all grown-up and hostile.

  43. This is NEW to London?!? Hell, I live in Norman, Oklahoma and can remember requiring special permission to go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show at Midnight. . . 25 years ago!

  44. #32 Cugel, good explanation. Sounds entirely reasonable to me. The curfew/control orders is not permanent and does not cover entire cities. They only set it for a period, for a limited area. Where there’s a known problem.

    What if a policeman saw a woman walking her 15 year old son home, at 9:30pm. If they’re told to separate, the kid would be in violation of curfew. Yes, we can think of weird stuff like this, or how it could be abused. That’s not the point. If the people there thinks they need this, well, who are we to tell them that they should allow gangs to take over their neighbourhood.

    9pm may be a bit too early, but it may be a cultural difference. I’m told that over in the UK, other than restaurants, nearly all shops are closed by about 6pm. Where I am, nearly all shops open till 9 or 10pm. Everyday. Some kids tuition classes even runs till past 9pm.

  45. Any society that is at war with it’s children is already doomed.

    The real problem has already been stated upthread. It’s poverty and the retreat of wealth into it’s private enclaves. These “green zones” are all that appear to matter while all else is left to wither and die. It’s happening all around the world. The wealthy elites retreat into private green zones, then comes the collapse of everything else, up go the walls.

    The movie “Children of Men” wasn’t supposed to be a manual. The extra “The Possibility of Hope” (split into three parts here) is very relevant.

    From Part Two

    Naomi Klein
    “I think we’ve abandoned a notion of development that is about steady progress that involves building infrastructure, putting in electricity, phone lines, water, building schools. More and more what I see in my travels is what I call the Global Green zone where you have a bubble where the internationals are and their local partners, working with NGO’s. So instead of infrastructure you have an apartheid system of the people with the generators, the bottled water, the cell phones. A expensive totally privatized infrastructure and then surrounded by this chaos. This is maybe the future that we’re seeing here, the global green zone.”

    Saskia Sassen
    “Cities have always had walls but they were invisible very often. What is interesting today is that the walls are deeply perforated. The walls are not working. So the next step is of course all kinds of securitizing, the weaponizing of urban space, the weaponizing of luxury buildings. The gated community is in a way the most extreme form. But the weaponizing of urban space is in full… it’s totally there now. I see this also in the future scenario. I feel that the real walls are going to be invisible walls but if you cross it you will know it and they will know it. That to me is a much scarier scenario.”

    “So I think the real question that people need to ask themselves is “Which side of the wall am I most likely to end up on?” Simply reacting to the immediate effects, kids idly lounging around on the street, is not going to save you.”

    This video essay was made in 2006. It’s already too late.

  46. Growing up I was subject to a curfew…and it was no big deal. Now, laws and policies are different here in the US thank the UK, and I recognize that but really? This is no big deal and is probably a good idea. 9pm does seem a bit early, but again, this is no big deal.

    Just saying “it’s no big deal” repeatedly doesn’t make a convincing argument.

    I had a state-enforced curfew growing up (that I willingly ignored), and it was a big deal. Freedom of movement and Freedom of assembly are fundamental to the eternal vigilance of liberty.

    ASBOs were bad enough; this is ridiculous.

  47. Isn’t it just as dangerous to break up the group and make the under 16s go home by themselves after nine?

  48. Any society that is at war with it’s children is already doomed.


    These “green zones” are all that appear to matter while all else is left to wither and die. It’s happening all around the world. The wealthy elites retreat into private green zones, then comes the collapse of everything else, up go the walls.

    This was one of the more interesting aspects in the story of the Phantom 2040 series.
    I think this was also the intended backstory in Code 46 (between “inside” and “outside”).

    This was also a fascinating theme at the Slought Foundation’s Evasions of Power series (available online licensed as Creative Commons).

  49. reading through the comments i have to wonder how many people against this law have actually spent time in the uk and/or know what the situation with youth culture is there. in my opinion there is a serious problem with youth violence in the uk – life imitating art but without the fashion sense or articulation of kubrick’s droogs.

  50. The G-20 summit starts next weekish. Doesn’t matter what city it happens in, this is SOP for any type of globalization-related event. In a few days, it’s likely they’ll not let groups loiter in public space.

  51. Ah Zuzu, we meet again.

    15 year old’s, out unsupervised in the middle of the night for no reason? No, I see NOTHING wrong with that. Really? That’s the best you’ve got. Claiming that minors should have absolute and unfettered freedom of movement and freedom of assembly?

    Again, things may be different in the UK and I’ve only got experiences from the US to base this on BUT in the US minors are treated differently because until you reach the age of majority you don’t have full rights. Simple as that. Is having a minimum age for a driver’s license wrong too? I mean, not being able to get a driver’s license certainly infringes on “freedom of movement.”

    You’ll also note that, on the freedom of assembly side, it is a judgment call on whether or not to tell a group to disperse. Yes, that can lead to abuse, but virtually any law can be abused, so that isn’t a solid reason either.

    So Zuzu, I put forther that my arguments are a lot more persuasive than your…”It is a big deal”, because I actually put reasoning behind mine. Claiming that everyone should have unfettered freedom of movement and assembly, no matter their age… Really?

    Should we allow groups of unsupervised 10 year-olds out on the streets at 3am? Where do YOU draw the line, or do you think that there should be no line at all.

    It seems to me that some folks will disagree with WHERE the line is drawn (and people ALWAYS will) but a vast majority will agree that a line SHOULD be drawn somewhere.

  52. I don’t see how this is a big deal. In philadelphia, there is a 10:30 curfew during school nights and 12 on the weekends when you’re under 18. Instead of being dispersed, you get driven home in a cop car and get a warning for the first 3 times you get picked up. After 3 warnings you get a nice court date.

    I got picked up multiple times when i was kid, i just used different names to not get in too much trouble. It’s not like you really needed an ID when your under 18 so not a big deal.

    Really though every time i was out i was doing dumb stuff anyway so i can’t see how any kids out at night are out there to help the homeless or doing anything productive.

  53. I would hardly say that this constitutes a “War on children.” That strikes me as hysterical hyperbole.

  54. 15 year old’s, out unsupervised in the middle of the night for no reason? No, I see NOTHING wrong with that. Really? That’s the best you’ve got. Claiming that minors should have absolute and unfettered freedom of movement and freedom of assembly?

    At most, that’s for parents, not the state, to decide.

    Should the state consider those under-18 as second-class citizens?

    Is having a minimum age for a driver’s license wrong too? I mean, not being able to get a driver’s license certainly infringes on “freedom of movement.”

    I would argue that the testing required to receive the license should be based on proficiency of skill, not age. If you can safely operate a motor vehicle, that’s what’s germane.

    You’ll also note that, on the freedom of assembly side, it is a judgment call on whether or not to tell a group to disperse. Yes, that can lead to abuse, but virtually any law can be abused, so that isn’t a solid reason either.

    Have you known police to have good judgment, in your experience? I haven’t in mine. Just about every cop I’ve interacted with is just the schoolyard bully “all grown up”. The smart ones become lawyers, not enforcers.

    So Zuzu, I put forther that my arguments are a lot more persuasive than your…”It is a big deal”, because I actually put reasoning behind mine. Claiming that everyone should have unfettered freedom of movement and assembly, no matter their age… Really?

    Yes, really, as far as the purview of the state extends.

    Should we allow groups of unsupervised 10 year-olds out on the streets at 3am? Where do YOU draw the line, or do you think that there should be no line at all.

    Who is the “we” in that question? Do you mean the state, or the parents? Or do you fancy yourself the parent of other people’s kids?

  55. Anyone who uses the words “literally exploded” in the manner of commenter # 4 should be strapped to the Chicago Manual Of Style and literally exploded.

  56. It’s been pointed out multiple times, so I’ll do it in bold this time: This is not just about kids. The cops can disperse any “group of 2 or more people” for the flimsiest of reasons.

    The government of the UK is using your fear of gang-related violence to undermine your civil liberties, just as the US government used our fear of terrorism to undermine ours. Yours has gone much further, much faster, and as long as you keep saying “what’s wrong with getting the kids off the streets?” it won’t stop. That’s the prominent part of this law for a reason: they’re hoping you’ll approve of that and not notice that YOU can’t have a political demonstration anywhere in the covered zone any more.

  57. Xopher: I don’t think this will affect many political demonstrations, since the curfew is only in force between 2100 and 0600.

    Of course, the potential is there. I’ve just joined Liberty.

  58. I disagree Zuzu.

    Let me start by saying that I’ve known many police officers to exercise good judgment. Not everyone in a uniform is a power-mad thug. Now, I’ve also encountered officers who are as thuggish as those they are supposed to protect people from, they are not all angels in blue or any such.

    However, your reasoning for not thinking that the police should be given this law to enforce (some will misbehave or show bad judgment) is the EXACT reason why there is a curfew on children (some will misbehave or show bad judgment). You can’t have it both ways.

    I notice that, in the instance of my last question, you wouldn’t even answer. Who is we? We are society. Society isn’t a wholly different entity, we as individuals make up society. We pass laws to protect society and to protect individuals. All laws certainly don’t pass that test, I’ll freely admit it, however this one really is NOT worth the hysteria I see here.

    Yes, society makes judgment calls about children and what is safe and proper for them. Curfews for children in the US have not been a hideous evil that have undermined our civil liberties. We have various ages that we allow folks to take part in specific things but here in the US we also reflect that in our legal system as well.

  59. Where are people coming up with that this applies to any group for 2 or more, regardless of age?

    The sign refers to Part 4 of the Anti-social Behavior Order of 2003, and that part clearly only applies to persons under 16.

    It even has exemptions for lawful public picketing, so its not about preventing peaceful demonstrations either.

    Unless someone can point out where I read wrong, I see a lot of people not actually reading the statues and overreacting in this thread.

  60. The problem as I see it with this set of laws is that it does nothing to address the problems that are present.

    Whether this be hypothetic ‘immigrant’ youths who are turning your local conservative green belt into a den of inequiety and sin, or the hoody skateboarders ‘terrorising’ old ladies by, you know, enjoying themselves.

    In this country we’ve systematically removed the resources for free enjoyment, socialising and learning that is attractive to the young. The parents at home often don’t have the resource or the wherewithall to ‘parent’ as the “1940’s life was golden” mob would like.

    Yes there are problems. Just shoving them under the carpet won’t make them go away – and also causes the villification of the innocent.Just because you’re under 16 doesn’t make you automatically guilty.

    Another point someone made is that the area to fall under this law would have to undergo confirmation that the groups were causing nuisance. Which isn’t right:

    This section applies where a relevant officer has reasonable grounds for believing [members of the public are harrassed, or that there is a problem in the area].

    The uniform in question doesn’t require any confirmation from higher sources at all that this is the case. As long as they believe they’ve got a good reason, they can do it.

  61. @Desprez: Read the title:

    Dispersal of groups and removal of persons under 16 to their place of residence

    Note the italiscised point (mine) this isn’t dispersal of groups and persons under the age of 16. They are two distinct sections.

    You will also note that the question of age doesn’t arise until point (6). Which the rest of the laws specifically don’t. Ergo – word of law – the rest of it appllies to any groups (though as an aside, do note I think point (5) actually gives specific cause for public peaceful protest).

  62. So, you are against the law because someone might do something inappropriate with it…much like the law is against children being out after a particular hour because someone might do something inappropriate?

  63. Zuzu, one thing I respect about you is your consistency.

    I agree with you on this thread, but the ideal is not possible at this time.

    We have neglected children for far too long. We are not child friendly. We do not educate our children, much less make our cities safe for our children or adults. We now have children, who were raised by children, raising children.

    All of these problems of violence and crime are due to our unwillingness to take care of our children, which has been going on for generations and more recent drug laws.

    When parents can’t or won’t take care of their children then the people, represented by the state, should intervene. The problem is the state does not represent the people. The state has grown to represent the powers it has always represented and its own survival, and the state only intervenes after the fact.

    In our ideal world, children and adults should be free anywhere and at all times as long as they understand and accept the responsibilities of personal freedom. Sadly, we are far from our ideals.

  64. I notice that, in the instance of my last question, you wouldn’t even answer. Who is we? We are society. Society isn’t a wholly different entity, we as individuals make up society.

    That’s as dangerous as equating morality with legality.

    Yes, society makes judgment calls about children and what is safe and proper for them.

    You’re not talking about “society”, you’re talking about government exercise of force, specifically.

    Again, you cannot equivocate government with “society”.

    Curfews for children in the US have not been a hideous evil that have undermined our civil liberties.

    How would you know, unless you’re someone under the age of 18? I remember all too well having my freedom abridged while in that age range, and I’d argue that it was a hideous evil of discrimination akin to Jim Crow.

  65. Don’t people understand!?!?!

    This is NECESSARY! Without baby steps toward a police state the masses will revolt when if finally arrives.

  66. Whew, what a thread! Great comments all around. I think the smarter kids will work within the system to fight this. You know, the ones NOT stabbing their neighbors.

    Still, one question burns in my mind,
    Joe in Australia: What is the definition of “a dogs’ breakfast,” and where does the term originate from?

  67. Gee Zuzu, you ARE consistent. Still not answering the question and trying to deflect instead. Comparing this to the Jim Crow laws? That smacks of hysterical hyperbole. Sure, let’s compare children not being able to go out after dark to racism. Sure, that comparison will stand up.

    As for how do I know that they haven’t been a hideous evil? Because I *WAS* under the age of 18 once Zuzu. I remember curfews.I remember sneaking out, and I even remember what sorts of things I was often sneaking out to do. Claiming that I need to CURRENTLY be under the age of 18 to understand how bad a thing curfews simply fails to grasp reality.

    And no Zuzu, while government and society are indeed two separate things merely chanting that all references to society mean government and that government is bad is not going to win me over to your side of the equation. In fact, it makes me shrug, sigh and desire to move on because you obviously just don’t get it.

    Yes, too much government can be a bad thing. But ranting and raving against every little thing just because it comes from a government becomes tiresome and certainly weakens any impact when trying to raise attention for anything that really IS going wrong.

    Case in point. Didn’t I just recently hear something about a possible expansion of police power in England that would allow police to take people in for non-jailable offenses?

    THAT is a bit scary. That, combined with most laws, including this one, is scary. This law though…sorry, not frightening at all.

  68. But really, the “Hey man you’re over 18 so you just don’t get it” argument? That’s priceless.

  69. #17 Gilgongo:
    Back in 1981, I was a teenager living in Thatcher’s Britain. […] I’m in my 30’s now and I’m worried about those kids.

    If you were 13 in 1981 you’d be 41 today.

    From wiktionary:

    Literally, a child from thirteen and nineteen, an adolescent.

    Your story doesn’t add up.

  70. 9 PM seems an awfully early curfew time for someone fifteen years old, especially on weekends or school holidays. Also, tarring all teens with the same brush as being uniformly “bad” is as harmful as failure to rein in the genuinely bad ones.

  71. 9pm across the board does seem early to me (the curfew I grew up with was 10pm, midnight on Friday and Saturday.

  72. Oh for god’s sakes get off your high horses. Groups of under 16’s shouldn’t be running around cities or towns or villages after 9pm. What the hell is wrong with saying that?

    They’re not sitting around reading poetry to each other – they’re causing a bloody nuisance.

    Please feel free not to comment, if you are not a regular victim of noise, litter and menace from kids who ought to be home. I live in a quiet village in the UK, and in the last few years have seen a marked rise in vandalism, drinking, noise and litter. It’s something repeated in every village around me – and we have one CSO serving about 20 villages. In the cities, it’s far worse.

    If parents can’t be arsed to bring up their kids properly (and yes, I have two) and don’t supervise them, then the law should step in. I’d rather it didn’t (and, hey, we have basically a zero police presence where I live ‘cos they’re – er – in the cities dealing with the problems there) but it’s better than doing nothing.

    So shove your middle class outrage back where it came from.

  73. It’s a mixed bag, isn’t it? On the one hand authorities are doing something, on the other hand they do not consult or inform the public. And there doesn’t seem to be a nation-wide policy, every council for themselves.

    I’ve been subjected to teen violence, eggs and stones thrown at me on my way home, assault 100m from my flat, improvised explosive device (fashioned from a box of fireworks and timing device) going off in the street right next to where I lived. Needless to say, I moved area.

  74. So what class is your outrage Beneditor? If we’re putting ourselves in classes for inspection – I’m a working class, 9-5 boy.

    I live in the cities and towns supposedly affected by this. Not a village – where you can’t quite seem to decide if you’ve got a problem or not?

    Just outta wonder – watched Hot Fuzz at all?

    I think anyone with a modicum of intelligence is happy to hear from both sides of the fence. But do try to pull your neck in and not insult everyone who disagrees with you.

    Or can we refer to you herin as the upper class shotgun toting village hick?

  75. #27 – MGFARRELLY:
    the efficacy of the infield fly rules

    What’s wrong with the infield fly rule? Seems to me it works fine.

  76. From afar it feels as if London is edging closer and closer to a kind of police state situation between this and the surveillance trends, etc etc.

    I don’t get it, I’ve always considered England/Europe in general to be more liberal and “ahead” of the US when it comes to progressive social attitudes & mechanisms.

    What is the dealio?

  77. Can it be a requirement that if you are going to comment, you first must take a class in logic?

    I’m seein some faulty-ass reasoning here.
    i.e. “this is not a big deal, there was a curfew when I grew up in boise”/ “there wouldn’t be a law if it wasn’t in response to a real problem”
    hmm, really?

  78. Dallas is considering a day-time curfew to try to stamp out truancy rates.

    I don’t think its an effective measure, just make school more appealing to people.

  79. I’ve got groups of teenagers in and at my building (not in the UK), who reached (as described above by someone) critical mass and feel they own the place. The vandalise and harass, litter and make people feel unsafe.

    Yet I don’t want them to be punished or their group made a breach of law just because of their existence and need to get together.

    I do want those harassing and vandalizing, etc. picked up and fined or whatever the appropriate punishment is. Those are acts which should be punished.

    Cameras have now been put up and perhaps that will make that possible. I support that. But I would never support any kind of law that makes simply getting together unlawful. I don’t want doing nothing wrong to become illegal.

  80. So, if there hadn’t been a problem, there wouldn’t have been a law.


    Your arguments could be cheerfully applied to the creation of draconian anti-terror laws. Do you really want to go in that direction?

    On the other hand, a law preventing Jacqui Smith from loitering with David Miliband wouldn’t be such a bad thing. They’ve proven themselves to be thugs.

  81. What the bloody *HELL* is going on in the UK, particularly London?
    It seems that hardly a day goes by that I don’t read about another ASBO ordinance going up there.

    For somebody who doesn’t live there and only occasionally passes through LHR, I frankly have been frightened off visiting, touring, or even transiting through your airports. There seems to be no reliable way to determine when I won’t have my things randomly confiscated or my person hauled off to jail for breaking some random security ordinance that got passed just last week.

    I feel much safer going through random countries in Africa or places like Laos or Cambodia because I know there I can at least *BRIBE* my way out of any trouble I get into.

  82. This is a big deal because first it’s the kids and then it’s you. Every time. Guaranteed. Laws don’t get smaller over time, they get larger and more encompassing. Every time.

    It’s a big deal because who’s to say who is under 16 and who is not? If I’m 17 and I don’t carry an ID, does that mean you get to roust me too? I’ve got rights and the rule is not assume I’m doing something wrong until proven otherwise. Innocent until proven guilty. But I know that’s not the way it works and mistakes are going to happen. When mistakes happen to 17-18 year old males with raging hormones, mistakes are going to have lots of negative outcomes.

    It’s a big deal, because this is a move to address the symptoms and not the cause. If violence is a problem, then address violence. If crime is a problem then address crime. Don’t take one little surface action and think that’s going to solve anything. More importantly, don’t accept this sop as a solution.

    If nothing else, it’s a big deal because kids this age are bright, motivated and have loads of spare time. Do you really want them sitting around in houses with nothing to do but think about how society is giving them the shaft again? Eventually some little fellow is going to suggest that maybe they should do something about it…

  83. @Xopher

    It’s been pointed out multiple times, so I’ll do it in bold this time: This is not just about kids. The cops can disperse any “group of 2 or more people” for the flimsiest of reasons.

    In my experience – having actually applied to the council for such an order to be put into effect in my neighbourhood – it requires the consent of the police and the local authority and a period of public consultation. It does not give PC Plod on the street the ability to decide on a whim where and when these powers apply.

    Xopher, there are plenty of other bullshit laws being used in the UK to whittle away our civil liberties; the ‘anti-terror’ laws that currently get used by councils to snoop on anyone they feel like, for example. Those are the ones worth getting het up about. This scheme is about community policing – it’s an attempt to provide some relief when the problems in a particular area are reaching crisis point. A reliable indicator of that, for me, was when my neighbour’s 14 year old daughter was sexually assaulted in the elevator.

    I understand it’s inadequate and disquieting. We’re shuffling these kids from block to block because we have nowhere for them to go and nothing for them to do. But without some sort of intervention, people get hurt.

  84. @Michiel

    Cameras have now been put up and perhaps that will make that possible. I support that. But I would never support any kind of law that makes simply getting together unlawful. I don’t want doing nothing wrong to become illegal.

    The first thing the cops tried in our block was to set up a hidden camera surveillance system in the stairwells. This ran for a few months and when they came to report back to the residents association we were told that their hi-tech operation had yielded hundreds of hours of tape of the tops of various hoods, but nothing that could lead to an ID or an arrest. Where’s Lester Freamon when you need him?

  85. Stopping people from socializing to prevent anti-social behavior. Hmmm. . .makes sense to me!

  86. Judging by the testimonies of Londoners, I’d say they probably need a curfew. Heck, I was picked up six times for curfew! Rightfully so, in most cases.
    I stood before the Hometown city council twice to protest a law they wanted, to make it illegal for kids to be on the streets during school hours. Their district had some schedule differences from the district we live in, so my son could have been arrested just for being in Hometown on a day when his school was closed. They passed the law.
    Maybe I shouldn’t have called them fascists, but I can’t say I’m sorry. They are.
    [BTW, MDH- this is documented.]

  87. Cugel sez @ “It does not give PC Plod on the street the ability to decide on a whim where and when these powers apply.”

    Within the zones created, yes, yes it does.

  88. I do believe that control is an illusion, and that the attempt to exercise it is more often the source of the problem than it is the solution. There is no love in control. There is no acceptance in control. Control is by nature a modifying influence.
    For young people in particular, there is a need to feel accepted. We tend to treat them as a problem instead. Something to be controlled.
    Should we be surprised if they behave according to our own expectations?!
    What comes first, the chicken, or the egg?

    Oh, and my style fault in #4?! I made me giggle. :-)

  89. Just to throw some facts into this discussion, the Metro Police have statistics available going back to the 2001.

    From 2001 to 2006, murders have ballooned from 171 to 162, Grevious Bodily Harm assaults rose from 5608 to 5102, and Common Assault has skyrocketed from 74690 to 44315.

    Obviously something must be done and it must be done now. Nobody cares what is done, as long as it is something.

  90. This makes sense. Children under the age of 16 do not have the same rights as adults. They can’t vote, they can’t drink. Frankly, after 9pm they should be at home with their mummies rather than playing grown-ups on street corners. All in all a welcome return for children to their proper place in society. Keep it up PC Plod.

  91. from here:
    “The first thing to understand is that the public peace — the sidewalk and street peace — of cities is not kept primarily by the police, necessary as police are. It is kept primarily by an intricate, almost unconscious, network of voluntary controls and standards among the people themselves, and enforced by the people themselves. …. No amount of policing can enforce civilization where the normal, casual enforcement of it has broken down.” (32)

  92. Here, I think, is the actual application, courtesy Camden Borough Council: (See section 3, ‘Background Information’, for their justification)

    This is a Camden / City of Westminster joint project. It’s also one of five dispersal notices in operation within Camden:

    The West End zone was apparently originally established in 2004:

    … and then extended (in scope) in 2007; here’s a Camden Council press release:

    Here’s also a BBC News article for a second dispersion area in Camden. This apparently has the support of local residents

  93. Wow. I asked a serious question wayyy back there at comment #13, sincerely asking what unsupervised kids do on the streets after 9 pm.

    I’m not talking about a mom walking her 15-year-old-kid home — he’s supervised.

    I’m not talking about a high-school tour group…they’re supervised (and if they’re not, all hell’s gonna break loose when the police escort them back to their hotel).

    No really — what is it that kids under 16 years old have to do after 9pm that is so important that they absolutely have to be out and about without adult supervision?

    It’s a genuine question, y’all — and not a single one of the 97 comments that followed mine have even remotely attempted to answer it.

    And let’s not divert this into more sharp-intake-of-breath, gasping hysteria — just answer the question.

    Yes, I was 15 once too — and yes, we were out past 9 pm — but we also lived 10 miles from the nearest town, so even though we had more than enough things to do to get ourselves in trouble, there isn’t a one of us who had the balls to face the music from the parental units if we got busted doing something we shouldn’t have been done…so we behaved ourselves.

    Obviously that has changed — so tell me why they need to be out after 9pm without an adult?

    1. I asked a serious question wayyy back there at comment #13, sincerely asking what unsupervised kids do on the streets after 9 pm

      Well, I was working on the school play, editing the school magazine and taking adult education courses, most of which lasted until 10PM. There’s also movies that go past 9, studying at the library that closes at 9 or 10, coming home from group study or even Bible study for the religiously inclined. I was never in before 10 on a school night.

  94. I think we should lock up all kids under the age of 18 in youth clubs every evening until 10.30pm and then every weekend and give them nothing to do except creative and sporting activities with a large dose of adult interaction.

    That will teach the little blighters and will be a damn sight more productive than just moving them out of a specific area.

  95. Fair answer, Antinous — and you were *on your way home* — but I still question the under-16 part — most of what you are talking about is 16 and older…because at under 16 you still have to have someone helping to transport you from A to B (which would pass as supervision), unless you are one of the relatively few who live within walking distance of everything.

  96. “what unsupervised kids do on the streets after 9 pm”;

    coming home from work? Going home after four hours of martial art practice? Not being at home to avoid physical/mental/emotional/sexual abuse? Playing in the park until too dark to see? Waiting for stars to come out? Living without a clock or schedule for that short time in life when that is possible? Growing into developed,independent personalities?

  97. 111: I don’t know what under 16s do in Soho/West End after 9pm. Some of them might be walking home after seeing a band or similar (many venues allow 14 year olds), but there’s nothing for them to do once the band finishes at 11-ish.

    In the area marked on the map, well over 99% of the trouble is caused by adults. There are zero old grandmas being intimidated, it’s an area of shops, offices, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, bars and nightclubs. Very few people live there, and those that do are choosing to live in the noisiest part of London. It’s fun! (And really expensive.)

    After 9pm almost every kid walking round there will be accompanied, probably having been to a theatre or a restaurant.

    I just don’t see why the notice is needed. It doesn’t make sense. Any curfews outside the West End would be more worthy of our ridicule, since they’re in places kids live.

  98. Regarding what teens are doing after 9, consider the retail establishments that close at 9PM, which take at least a half hour to be cleaned and locked up for the night and which might be employing 16-year-olds (if not those under 16), and which certainly encourage those under 16 to keep on shopping until the end of business hours. And let’s not even get started on holiday or sale hours, which keep workers and shoppers on the sales floor long past 9.

    Upthread, I mentioned an expectation for a precipitous rise in teen pregnancy due to kids being urged indoors, but now I’m wondering about teen mothers in general. Under this policy, some of my high school classmates could have been busted on a technicality every time they took their kids to the walk-in clinic. Maybe things are different eight years on, but the young mothers I knew a) liked to hang out together, b) took their kids everywhere, and c) had no “adult” supervision on trips to and from school. Instead, they had their children’s fathers: boys who drove them to work, helped pick up the kids from the school daycare, and in general acted like (very young) parents.

    And that’s not the only technical beef I’ve got, here: what about public transit? What if you’re on your way home, but the bus is late? In central London, I imagine this might be something of an issue — or maybe I’m wrong, and everyone there has a car, in a striking dissimilarity to every other major city on the planet.

    And what about circumvention? Technically “without adult supervision” can mean just getting your Older Friend (you know, the one who hooks up you up with cigarettes and alcohol?) to “supervise” your group of friends.

    I understand why the policy is in place. But I don’t think forcing the kids inside helps: the winter cold forces my neighbourhood’s adolescents indoors, and it just means that they vandalize the hallways of my building. Their parents don’t care. The superintendent doesn’t care. Dispersal can sometimes mean shoving the problem someone else’s way, not solving it.

  99. Serraphin,

    Cugel sez @ “It does not give PC Plod on the street the ability to decide on a whim where and when these powers apply.”

    Within the zones created, yes, yes it does.

    Er… did you not get what I was saying? If PC Plod isn’t operating in one of these zones – i.e. a zone set up by the council at the end of a long process of scrutiny with the cooperation of local residents – then he can’t move kids along. So no, he hasn’t the ability to invoke these powers on a whim anywhere he wants in London – only in specific areas at specific times.

  100. Perhaps, on the third citation, the children’s parents can be forced to take a parenting class in lieu of a stiff fine.

  101. Antinous – Actually, the statement is valid. Yes, you can compare it to the anti-terror laws, which are quite Draconian. But here is the big secret…there WAS a problem, the law simply over reacted to it.

    Now, I don’t think a curfew on teens is the blatant crime against humanity that some folks seem to think it is, nor do I think that it is an overreaction. I’ve lived in places with and without them while growing up and the places with curfews generally had less issues with JD and vandalism. Note I say less, a curfew doesn’t wipe these issues out.

    With curfew, if on our way home, we were told to get home. If we stayed late at school working on a project, somebody had to pick us up because we were to young to drive.

    Most of the arguments AGAINST the curfew are based on idealistic arguments of what the children might be up to rather than causing trouble. Thing is, my past experiences where I grew up tells me that most of the kids out and about after curfew were up to no good. Granted, I think the curfew we had was more reasonable than a blanket 9pm too.

    1. We had a curfew when I was growing up, but all the cops were local residents and had six to twelve children of their own. One got the impression that they were actually concerned for the children’s welfare when enforcing the curfew. This just seems like scapegoating a class of citizens who have less recourse to justice. The UK government has done a piss poor job on children’s welfare. It’s hard to believe that this policy has benevolent intent.

  102. are people under 16, people? Do they qualify for the same basic human rights? Presumption of innocence for example? Or are they lesser in some way?

  103. Children (and by that I meant hose who haven’t reached the age of majority in whatever their locale may be) DO have less rights Takuan. If you are just now realizing this, I must wonder where it is that you grew up.

  104. Speaking of which: UK plans comprehensive terror law.

    It takes into account recent attacks on hotels in the Indian city of Mumbai…While the paper would look into the lessons learned from the November attacks on Mumbai hotels, it is not thought that attacks are likely on hotels in the UK.

    What could possible go wrong?

  105. smoking, drinking, voting and dying in their fathers wars are all privileges. I am speaking of basic human rights. Do they own their bodies? Are they permitted their own thoughts? Do they have the right to not be automatically assumed to be criminals by age profiling?

  106. Why are the children on the street in the first place? What are they attempting to escape? Perhaps they don’t have a permanent place of residence? Maybe they live in an a less than ideal home, where the parents aren’t fulfilling their respective roles? Or maybe the children are trying to escape abuse (physical, mental, sexual abuse)? Maybe the children can no longer take seeing a parent drunk, or on drugs? Maybe the child is trying to escape the constant arguments between the parents? Maybe the parent/s are never home? Moving the children indoors/or out of designated areas probably won’t put an end to the problem (this seems more akin to brushing the dirt under the carpet so nobody will see it). Offer these children alternatives. Give them a place where they can do something late at night under the supervision of adults. A community center, an outreach center, free night classes (towards a career), something. If the children are in gangs, then give them an alternative. Invest in fighting the cause instead of the ugly byproduct.

  107. Hello, citizens of London and the rest of the United Kingdom.

    You are ALL residents of the Village.

    Are you numbers, or are you free men and women?

    The choice is yours.

    Be Seeing You!

  108. interesting Antinous, after they have succeeded in inciting the general population to drive out and kill all “islamic” looking people, who will they do next?

  109. #129 Bingo. The question is how to enable Love on the streets. Instead of terror. Make it work. England in today’s world sucked up to Bush. Dumb move. You can recover. I hope.

  110. [O]ne question burns in my mind… What is the definition of “a dogs’ breakfast,” and where does the term originate from?

    It’s an Australianism that describes an awful mess. It might just mean last night’s leftovers, served to the dog the next morning, but I suspect it means the debris left when a drunk has vomited, cleaned up by the dogs the next morning.

  111. It’s been pointed out multiple times, so I’ll do it in bold this time: This is not just about kids. The cops can disperse any “group of 2 or more people” for the flimsiest of reasons.

    Would it help if I added an exclamation mark? Probably not. And it’s not just the cops: any Community Support Officer has the same power as the cops, for the purposes of this section.

    I’m quite surprised – and a bit alarmed – at the way people are justifying this without reference to the actual legislation. For one thing, people keep going on about how people under 16 shouldn’t be out after 9PM anyway, which is weird. An anonymous poster specifically said that “at under 16 you still have to have someone helping to transport you from A to B”, apparently without noticing that London’s West End is absolutely lined with buses, taxis, subway (“Tube”) stations and so forth. And lots of people walk or ride bicycles: London’s big but not vast.

    Another poster said that it takes the local council and police to implement this, which it does, but once it’s implemented then any police officer or “community support officer” can enforce it. The enforcement is the problem: the law on its own doesn’t affect anyone.

    Other people have said – and I don’t dispute them – that they are terrorised by gangs of youth. This is the classic political syllogism: something must be done; this is something; therefore it must be done. I would ask them if this Act will reduce the danger from gangs, in a way that would not otherwise be possible? And even if it does, whether the Act does not go too far in restricting civil liberty.

    Let me give you an example of the kind of thing prohibited by this Act.

    You’re out with your spouse and someone takes offense at your presence – for whatever reason, even one which would give the complainant no legitimate legal rights. Let’s say that he doesn’t like Jews, or Asians, or “poncy toffs in shiny shoes”. You and your spouse make up a group of two or more people. The complainant says that he’s “alarmed or distressed” at your presence. This is sufficient to trigger the provisions of the Act and the police-or-community-support-officer may tell you to disperse, leave the area, and don’t come back for twenty-four hours.

    Alternatively, suppose you’re out shopping with your (adult) friend or friends. You’re dissatisfied with a purchase and you request a refund. The shopkeeper refuses, and you quietly leave the store. You stand outside – peacefully – discussing what to do next, but the shopkeeper claims to be “alarmed or distressed” by your presence. Once again, that will trigger the provisions of the Act. Note that you can’t claim that you’re making a public protest unless you’ve given written notice at least six days earlier – not even if you are actually making a public protest, not even if it’s against the unheralded arrival of Generalissimo Badmash Verybad of Badistan who eats kittens for breakast and has arrived to purchase more electrified whips for his orphan factories.

    Let’s say that you’re at a restaurant with a friend or friends and you dispute the bill. It’s the same deal. And bear in mind that the officer can tell you to disperse. I can see real problems with people who might have arrived in the same car, for instance. Or they might all need to catch the same train. Or you might be having drinks after work, and he orders you to leave the area for twenty-four hours. How can you come to work the next day? Well, you can’t.

    Please don’t say that these are ridiculous examples. The law is implemented by ridiculous people. Look carefully at the Act and you will see that these examples (which I think are quite plausible) are all encompassed within the Act. It’s mindbogglingly open to casual abuse by people who really ought not have that sort of power.

  112. the intent is clear; provoke public reaction to repression to justify more repression. Power to government is an addiction. With each additional bit of power gained, more is craved. There is no cabal planning this in the back rooms, it is the very nature of government to increase its grasp and control, and so breed as a meme. The weakness of character and intellect of those in elected office aids and abets this, but it is not the driving factor. Consider that a new tax is never repealed, old paperwork is never thrown out, mistaken records are never corrected and the very measure of legislative government is how fast it can wrap the people in chains with new regulations just as quickly as ANY matter is brought to its attention.
    The beast needs feeding and the blood of people who stand up to it is choice. Sooner or later this curfew law will result in the extra-judicial execution of a child. Mark my words.

  113. Anonymous (#111): There may in fact be nothing that any given under 16 year old absolutely HAS to be doing after 9 pm. But the same can be said of adults as well. Unless it is part of your job, what would YOU absolutely need to be out after 9 pm for?

    Really. Aside from young teens, how many adults absolutely HAVE to go to a movie, or hang out with friends in a restaurant, or even just take a walk at night?

  114. Yes curfews similar to this are quite common in the U.S. Including the town I’m living in. It’s 10 pm for anyone under 18 unless going to or from work, or a school function. There is even a curfew at the local mall. It’s no unsupervised kids in the mall after 6 pm on friday or saturday night. While yes these rules seem harsh and yes there have been incidences where the police have abused these laws. I believe they have also worked to make our community and more importantly our kids safer.

  115. Curfews in the US are quite common. The standing one in my town prohibits people under the age of 18 from being out between 11 PM and 5 AM. The municipal code also lists a whole paragraph of exclusions, including emergency, travel, school, “legal” employment, and the expression of free speech.

    Until such time that society can implement a system wherein only loving, responsible, and capable people are allowed to have children in the first place, curfews will have to do.

  116. Draco, what makes you think that? Please explain at greater length.

    Do you imagine the kids think it’s warranted or fair, or has it brought the law into disrepute with them? If the latter, does that make anyone safer?

    Have you checked to see what alternate hangouts teens have switched to? What are the effects of these changes?

    How does it make anyone safer to make teenagers “other” to the general population, limit their interactions, and make it clear to the teenagers that this is being done for the adults’ benefit?

  117. @142 you missed my earlier point. Some children are out at night BECAUSE they are escaping their “homes”. A curfew sends them back into hands you might not like.

  118. Kids have no business being out in an urban area at that time. None, nada. They are a menace to themselves and society. They are easy prey for the criminal element and well known for foolishness and hooliganism. I for one welcome this slap down of unruly spoiled brats. If it does not serve the fascist state, it cannot be allowed. Now go back to your consuming and or producing and stopy trying to meddle. Let the ruling elite have thier way, as Ms Thatcher used to say, there is no alternative.

  119. Hook up an electric generator to Eric Arthur Blairs grave and his rotating body will provide energy for London or perhaps whole of England.

  120. I’m quite torn on the issue. On one hand, I don’t like police asking “What business do you have being here at this time!” A citizen shouldn’t need a legitimate reason to walk free in his home city. Freedom should be the default.
    On the other hand, juvenile delinquincy is a very real problem that is victimizing innocents.
    I agree with curfews, because I was that JD out late at night, stealing, vandalizing, up to no good. The curfew is a tool a lot of parents use to keep their kids in at night. “Because it’s illegal!” is a more legitimate reason to give a kid than “Because I said so!”

  121. “Why would under-16s be wandering around unsupervised after 9 pm, please?”

    yeah, really, wandering around in the open air with friends, enjoying themselves in what is supposedly a “free” country…..what the hell are they thinking?

  122. “Because it’s illegal!” is a more legitimate reason to give a kid than “Because I said so!”

    Is this some strange new use of the word “legitimate”? Otherwise, I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

    Re: Anyone saying that curfews reduce crime and increase safety. By that argument, impose curfews on everyone; that’ll really keep the streets safe at night. What business do you have, as an adult, wandering the streets at 3am for anyway? Shouldn’t you be safe at home, asleep? If it’s an emergency, you can arrange for a police escort.

    Re: Anyone referring to “teen crime”; substitute that for “negro crime” or “muslim crime” and tell me how that sounds. How is profiling young people any different than profiling other demographic groups?

    1. “Because it’s illegal!” is a more legitimate reason to give a kid than “Because I said so!”

      Is this some strange new use of the word “legitimate”?

      I hate to get all etymological on your ass, but…think about it.

  123. Zuzu, I’ve actually lived in one of these zones. The police don’t roam about hassling kids. (They don’t have the resources.) Residents are given a number to call in case of trouble, and the police turn up soon after.

    The point is that it’s a hack to get round the original problem, which is that your street or estate can get taken over by criminal gangs and there’s nothing the police can do. They can’t just react to what’s going on. Before the control zone was in place, we had six months of robberies and assaults in our stairwells and on our doorsteps which didn’t lead to any arrests; the perpetrators are smart enough to disappear after they commit any crime more serious than stealing your bag. Surveillance didn’t work either.

    So the hack is to give the police the power to disperse groups of kids in specific targeted areas before they start to feel like they own the place. It’s not perfect, no, but could somebody give me a non-utopian alternative solution? One that actually helps me, or my neighbours?

    Look, I’m the first person to speak up about civil liberties. But this isn’t ‘profiling’. In my case, this was about an identified criminal gang – TMS, who will quite happily shoot a 16-year old in the head over drugs – setting up shop in my home and filling it with violence and weapons. The only profile to apply was “are they a gang member?” As soon as the violence and crime stopped, we as residents stopped calling in the cops. Kids are welcome to hang about in the communal playground as long as they aren’t hurting anybody.

    As soon as I see this law being abused, I’m going to be the first one to join the chorus condemning it. But I’m going to point this out one more time: there are plenty of anti-terror laws etc that are MUCH more abusive, vaguely-worded and potentially dangerous than this in the UK. It takes months of consultation and the consent of the local council to put one of these zones in place. The cops can’t just apply it willy-nilly; I’m sure they can find something else in their locker if they are determined to harass you. Stop and search, for example.

  124. excellent discussion!
    Lets hand it over to Bunny Colvin

    Lets face it guys, We can’t lie…not to them.

  125. Quoth “Anonymous” at #111: No really — what is it that kids under 16 years old have to do after 9pm that is so important that they absolutely have to be out and about without adult supervision?

    and the same, at #116: Fair answer, Antinous — and you were *on your way home* — but I still question the under-16 part — most of what you are talking about is 16 and older…because at under 16 you still have to have someone helping to transport you from A to B (which would pass as supervision), unless you are one of the relatively few who live within walking distance of everything.

    Well, I’m not Antinous, but in my hometown most kids *did* walk to and from most activities. This tends to be true in most urban areas. There’s also public transportation, which involves walking between the transport stop and one’s origin and destination.

    At the age of fifteen, I was involved in church youth group, youth choir, and my school’s drama club. None of these activities let out before 9PM, and those among us who lived within reasonable walking distance from the school or the church frequently did walk home once these activities let out, unaccompanied by our parents – who, in many cases, were busy at home getting the younger kids in the family to bed around that time. (And the above is also true of many in the under-sixteen age group in the town where I currently live.)

    But I suppose that church and school activities might well qualify as unimportant to you, and of course we all know that it’s much healthier for kids to be taken everywhere via automobile by their parents, even if it’s only a few blocks’ distance, rather than being expected to actually get off their butts and walk. After all, who needs exercise? And we certainly wouldn’t want the kids developing self-reliance or getting the idea that they can handle their own transportational needs.

  126. Takuan,
    Until children have all the responsibilities of an adult, they don’t get all the freedoms. Consider it the price they pay for not being held as responsible for many of their actions as an adult would be.

    Again, the US is my only guideline.

    A child in school carries out some thuggish behavior and beats up a classmate? He gets suspended for fighting. An adult does it, he goes to jail. The adult is considered to know better and thus is held fully responsible. The child is not.

    Age of majority. Its a fact in most cultures.

    And Zuzu? Really? The race card? You are comparing cracking down on the movements of minors as the same thing as racially motivated laws?

    I think you are failing to grasp some very basic points but I’d be interested in hearing the views of some minority members on that comparison. I still think that it is merely aggrandizing hyperbole.

  127. #153: You are comparing cracking down on the movements of minors as the same thing as racially motivated laws?

    Well, try this on for size: instead of it being people under 16, what if it were people over 70? Doesn’t ageism resemble racism a bit more when you remove the excuse of “but they’re children” from it? A fifteen year old really doesn’t have all that much in common with, say, a nine year old, except that the law regards them both as minors. Guess what? Jim Crow laws were often based on not regarding blacks as equivalent to whites, and tended to regard blacks as being fundamentally incapable of behaving as responsible adults, regardless of age, simply because of their skin color. In other words, they were reduced to the perpetual status of juveniles in terms of privileges and rights – except when it came to being “prosecuted” for “crimes”, of course – even to the common practice of referring to adult black males as “boy”.

    And remember, many people over 70 have been known to exhibit signs of confusion or diminished ability to deal with the world around them, when compared to people between the ages of, say, 21 and 69, so wouldn’t it also make sense to restrict the freedom of that age group to move about in public at night, for their own protection? But I bet you’d scream bloody murder over something like that.

  128. Also:

    Age of majority. Its a fact in most cultures.

    True, but the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” applies even to minors. Or at least it does in civilized cultures.

  129. Summer, people over the age of seventy are adults with the full rights and RESPONSIBILITIES of adults.

    Children are not. It is a very basic distinction. Adults are RESPONSIBLE for children.

    For example…

    If I leave my 65 year old mother in the car on a hot day, knowing that she can roll down the window? I’m fine.

    If I leave my 5 year old child in the car on a hot day, knowing that they can roll down the window? I can go to jail.

    As long as the onus of responsibility for children is placed on adults (which it most likely always will be) children are not going to have rights equal to those of adults, for the simple reason that they are not the ones RESPONSIBLE.

    It isn’t merely a question of thinking that children are guilty..much as folks might want to smear it that way.

    It is also a question of keeping children safe in a world where a parent can go to jail because their child does something stupid.

  130. Also:

    If you want to bring the legal system into this and want equality? Then let us do away with juvenile courts (which hand out limited sentences for children) and place all children in adult courts with adult consequences. That’s “fair” too right?

    Or is this a case of “Won’t somebody think of the children?!”

  131. Ceronomus, this isn’t about responsibilities. This is about rights.

    And a fifteen year old with a job DOES have job-related responsibilities. He or she may well be contributing to his or her family’s income. He or she may even be a parent. Also, a fiteen year old has school responsibilities, personal responsibilities.

    By your logic, anyone without what you consider major obligations ought not to be afforded the same rights as those who have them. So what would be wrong with making it illegal for retired 70-somethings with no minor children to be out and about after 9 PM?

    I’m sorry, but if you can’t recognize the difference betwen a five year old and a fifteen year old, then I doubt anyone on this thread can help you.

  132. Ceronomus, it comes down to one thing: do you, or do you not, believe in the concept of presumption of innocence until guilt is proven?

    If you do believe in it, do you believe it ought to apply to everybody equally, or do you believe there are some groups of people who should be automatically exempt? If so, why should they be exempt?

    And please go back and re-read the OP and the initial article that goes with it. These laws are not targeted to “protecting” minors. If they were, then your noise about adult responsibility toward protecting them might be relevant. But it is clear from the wording of the law that this is about protecting other people FROM the under-sixteens, and as such, it presumes that anyone under sixteen is automatically guilty of somehow menacing others, simply by virtue of their youth. Ergo, your going on about adults and protecting kids is not the least bit germane to the discussion.

    Have a nice day.

  133. Ceronomus-I seems that you are better equipped to deal with this “problem” than most people here.Do you have Children? Are they Happy? Or are ye just Bumping yer internet gums? You seem better than most to give us guidance.Or are you….

  134. Freedom of assembly? For under 16s? Really?

    That is the problem with Britain, that “adults” have abrogated completely they parenting duties and allow children to do whatever the hell they want. What is next? Little Peter for Prime Minister at the ripe age of 11?

    Children never had freedom since they are under the supervision of their parents or guardians. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for children that age to roam unsupervised at those times. Their freedom of association should (and actually does) stops when mom says to go to bed.

    The law does not even say that they can be arrested, it only grants the police powers to disperse them and send them home, which is the rational thing to do.

    I invite all those people screaming blue murder (“first they came for the under 16s, then they came foe etc …”: what a load of bullshit) to come and walk with me in certain parts of town. Be prepared to receive abuse and threats by juveniles that have no respect for anybody.

    Poverty may be the initial problem, but if parents and teachers have failed to educate the feral urban young, then I want at least the police to have some powers to deal with these youngsters.

  135. >”…but the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” applies even to minors. Or at least it does in civilized cultures.”

    I wish that were true. I can’t find a minimum age for rights in the U.S. Constitution, but lots of people support ‘zero tolerance’ in schools, which short-circuits the Bill of Rights, allowing children to be expelled immediately without any defense or due process.
    I know this kid- stop. I won’t this time, Arkie.

  136. I love how the folks in arms about this seem to switch gears each time. Summer cries out that it is “ageist” and asks about “guilty until proven innocent.”

    Well, child labor laws are certainly ageist right? I mean, if a 10 year old wants to get a job, they should be able to right? It shouldn’t matter what their age is. Certainly we shouldn’t presume that someone is going to exploit them just because they are children…right? guilty until proven innocent. So we’ll roll back those “ageist” child labor laws. While we’re at it, we should probably do away with requiring children to go to school, that too infringes on their “freedom of movement.”

    No discussion of “rights” is complete without a discussion of “responsibilities” Summer. If you don’t get that, you are missing a fairly important portion of the societal compact.

    If my five year old can operate a car window, why should it matter if they are 5 or 15?

    I’ve already laid out the question to Zuzu of where the line should be drawn, but remarkably, there has been no answer. I’m betting you won’t have an answer either. The very drawing of a line invalidates virtually EVERY argument that has been used against the curfew.

    I know the difference between a 5 year old and a fifteen year old. However, I also know the difference between a 15 year old and an adult.

    Now, Troofseeker brings up the concept of “Zero Tolerance” policies in the US. I tend to think that such policies are an over-reaction as opposed to a reasonable one.


    Summer…if you really think that there should be no difference between children and adults, let us take a moment and imagine that world shall we?

    We would no longer require children to go to school (since we don’t require it of adults), nor would we prevent children of any age from holding down jobs. Certainly, those jobs MIGHT be in sweatshops, but innocent until proven guilty after all and the children should certainly have enough common sense to avoid such problems right?

    Of course, an age of sexual consent is another example of “ageism.” NAMBLA has been arguing for years to remove a mandatory age of consent and leave it to the child to decide. After all, as long as the child consents, that’s ok too right?

    I could go on, and yes…I did choose two of the more graphic examples of the policies that you yourself are arguing against. But the fact of the matter is that, while you are arguing that a fifteen year old and a nine year old don’t have a lot in common, you seem to think that a 15 year old and a 50 year old do.

    But I’ll ask YOU Summer…where would YOU draw the age line. It seems that you are okay at drawing the line at at least 5 years old based on my prior comment…but what about 10? If ten, how are they so different from eleven year olds?

    In the end, the number used for such a distinction is generally fairly arbitrary but I’d love to hear where you would draw the line.

  137. Anti-
    Sorry- it’s pet peave. As a child I detested orders with no more explanation than “I said so!” and vowed to myself that if I had kids I would never say that. I have kept it, too.
    If you want to impose a rule on me, give me a valid reason for it- legitimize your rule- or I’ll ignore it.
    Neither of my sons ever had a specific bedtime, because they got up and got to school on time. No problem, no rule.

    1. I was merely pointing out that ‘illegal’ is a valid antonym for ‘legitimate’ as they both derive from lex.

  138. @144 Giving teens the opportunity to wander the streets at night immune from the intervention of authority seems a very odd way to deal with the problem of abusive homes.

  139. Why am I not surprised, first their pressing Google over their street cam thing now 16 and under has curfew, boy London is pretty square.

  140. what does the “justice” machine there do to a fifteen year old captured for processing by being on a public sidewalk one minute after 9PM? What aer the real consequences and records created? Has there ever been a case of successful prosecution against police for excessive force or torture against a child?

  141. Troofseeker@166: I agree. My mother would always give a reason when she told us to do or not to do something. She’d say “because that power drill is dangerous. You could end up with a big hole in your arm. That would hurt a lot, and you’d have to go to the hospital.” That made more sense to me than “because I said so.”

  142. Ackpht@168: Forcing them to go back to those abusive homes would be a worse way to deal with it, I would think.

    Also, they’re not “immune from the intervention of authority” just because there’s no curfew. The cops can still intervene if they commit (or try to commit) a crime.

  143. @ #116 Anonymous:

    …because at under 16 you still have to have someone helping to transport you from A to B (which would pass as supervision), unless you are one of the relatively few who live within walking distance of everything.

    ..??? I am assuming you have never been to London, nor lived in a city before.

    (Not counting LA or some other ridiculous highway-with-houses where one must drive everywhere.)

  144. #170 – Actually it states that they will be removed to their home or to a place of safety (in other words giving a safety exception for the children of abusive homes).

  145. I love how you extrapolate a jail cell from a place of safety. The idea seems more that if the child is fleeing abuse that he’d be taken to the London equivalent of CPS. You’ll note that they are currently investigating whether it is warranted to have those teens locked up…which it could well be.

  146. interesting,especially “30% of children live in poverty”. Nothing really about the reality of where apprehended children are held though, vis a vis conditions and intentions.

  147. If we observe this from a mystical perspective , then we begin to realize that ´the negative extraterrestrials´always refer to ´the people´whose mission it is according to claims to be their ancient enemy , as ´anybody´.
    Those who are called ´their representatives´, or their ´human underlings´never use or always seem to avoid using the term ´any´ , which is very often used by positive , loving extraterrestrials in ufo – et litterature.
    To put it bluntly without reference to the extraterrestrial concept and it´s related ideologies , the enemies of the people of the United States and the lesser developed nations always refer to them as ´anybody´when they make laws that are termed ´draconian´in a reference to the constellation of Draco which has been
    believed to be the home of the Draco.
    Sounds bizzare?
    Put it into context and you get what I mean.
    ´The people´are always referred to as ´anybody´s´and never as ´somebody´s or ´any´.

  148. It has some frightening child welfare statistics in there. But it does make for interesting reading. Still, while I cannot find specifics on SS housing in England (only references about it), I note that they do HAVE housing other than jails.

  149. and if they don’t move quick enough? Threat of arrest is what coerces moving, arrest is sure to follow sooner or later.

  150. Imagine a community of homes, with families living in them. The kids go in their room at night, do homework, then goof off on the internet, watch TV, or listen to music in private.
    Now imagine that the homes are smaller and the families are larger. There is no privacy if you share a room with others, so the kid gets bored and goes outside. Nothing wrong with that, unless he gets into mischief with friends.
    Maybe that’s the way London is seeing it- it’s not a curfew per se; the kids can be out, they just can’t cluster after 9pm.
    It almost seems reasonable, until you consider the danger of a girl being out alone at night. Suddenly sex becomes a factor. Shouldn’t girls be with a friend if they’re out at night?

  151. #163: Summer…if you really think that there should be no difference between children and adults, let us take a moment and imagine that world shall we?

    I never said I think there should be no difference between children and adults, so come back when you can demonstrate that you actually understood my argument. Until then, there is zero point in my further addressing you, so I’m not going to waste time in doing so.

  152. With all due respect I disagree with Ceronomus (specifically post #153). I don’t follow the news on a regular basis (here in the states), but when I do turn on the news I constantly hear about youths being charged as adults. I remember hearing a few weeks ago about a 11 year old being charged as an adult for the suspected murder of his father’s pregnant fiancee. If you do a google search for juvenile crime, I am sure you will be surprised with the number of youth being charged as adults for any number of offenses (not just murder). I hear about African-American youth being charged as adults constantly for fighting (in schools). The schools around my way had/have police officers stationed inside to arrest (children that violate the law). I remember hearing about children (elementary/middle) being arrested for bring toy guns to school. I heard about a young girl (maybe 14-15 years old) that sent a explicit photo/s of herself to a boy/boyfriend (via mobile phone), who is now a registered sex offender (she was charged as an adult despite being around the same age as the recipient). What about the recent scandal in which judges were making money (millions) by putting children in detention centers. This goes on and on.

  153. Takuan, they get arrested if the police get called back to deal with them twice in a night.

    I’m not saying kids are well-treated in this country; I’ve had friends sent to Feltham (the hellish ‘Young Offenders Institution’) and to Pentonville for minor indiscretions. I really sympathize with what the children in my area have to contend with. But could someone provide an example of this particular law being abused… as a counterexample to my own direct experience, which is that the law was cautiously and sensibly applied, only enforced when life and limb were at risk, and led to significant benefits for the local community…?

  154. the only real beef I have is why does one in three kids in the UK have to live in poverty and feed this machine?

  155. yeah there’s a gang culture in london. but what proportion of the gang violence, teen stabbings etc. happen in the West End, where there are crowds of passersby 24/7? And how much of it happens on the sink estates miles outside the centre?

    Yet another piece of wrongheadedness from the social fascists – not unlike the commencement of the ban on drinking on the tube, which led to that almighty party on a saturday night. That was handled soooo badly as to make me think it was a deliberate conspiracy to manufacture a ‘problem’ of tube drinking that previously didn’t exist and in fact only existed for one isolated saturday because of boris johnson. So if it was a deliberate ploy I’m ashamed to say that I was duped, and ended up being a drunken stooge of the Authoritarian Right on the circle line. and if it wasn’t a deliberate ploy then the people running london really are pretty dense.

  156. Takuan @ 196

    Although I don’t have any empirical evidence, merely anecdotal, from experience its a whole range of issue that affect the parents.

    Poor education, limited job prospects and sadly (quite often) a passed down tradition of “benefit living”. There are huge communities that may have suffered during the previous recessions(over here) and never crawled back out of it.

    When parents are unable to help (through a myriad of reasons both fault and non-fault) and the kids are pushed around and down by everyone else – it makes it harder to make anything of yourself.

    As an example – in 2000 it was reported that one if five adults could be considered illiterate in the UK. One in Five! This limits job prospects hugely especially in a services heavy market. And as a result, poverty ensues.

    Which – to me – is why we need to stop shoving the kids off the streets and do something for them. Spend the money on new, up to-date and modern community centres.

  157. At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, under-16s already face serious restrictions on their personal liberty. The government requires them to go to school, for one thing, and their parents get to tell them what to do. I fully sympathise with Cory’s concern for our liberties, but yes, by general consent, in almost all societies, and here in the United Kingdom in particular, ,the liberties of minors are restricted.

    It is certainly reasonable to question the rationale for these restrictions in an appropriate setting, which is why we have tertiary education (and why the adjective “sophmoric” was invented).

    THIS isn’t particularly the neo-fascist police state – it’s dealing with the problems created by youth and gang violence, and also with the incompetence of the parents of the urban underclass (primarily, in case it’s not obvious to sensitive American readers, consisting of our burgeoning population of “white trash”) who make Palin jr. and the “fuckin’ redneck” look like model parents. Many of the kids aren’t alright, even if it isn’t their fault, because their parents or “carers” are even less alright.

  158. So Summer ALSO refuses to answer the question of where the line should be drawn. Another person caught up in their own contradictory argument who actually fails to understand mine. So, moving on…

    Yes, in the US a child CAN be tried as an adult. Normally this is not the case, but there are instances where this happens. However this is the exception and not the norm.

    Now, Takuan’s question about 1 in 3 children living in poverty is a sobering one…but one that isn’t directly involved in the argument (though one could certainly say that it is at the heart of it). That ANYONE has to live in poverty is certainly a much greater crime than loitering.

  159. Townships might consider re-defining the Public Library. They have been changed in this digital age, whether they like it or not. At the libraries I visit, I see nearly as many videos and CDs go out as books.
    They’re not equipped to produce athletics programs, but they can allow internet access, and many have meeting rooms, and could probably provide arts and crafts classes, show movies and videos, maybe even video production classes. They might have volunteers there to help kids with homework.
    I realize that library budgets are tiny. It would require a lot of support from the neighborhood, perhaps donations from businesses and time from volunteers, but the facility is there, and if the libraries could escape the ‘nerd hole’ image, and use some creative promotion, it might become a place for some of those JD’s to hang out at night instead of alleys, hiding from bobbies.

  160. Actually, in the US Libraries are pushing towards what they are referring to as “Library 2.0” and they ARE seeking to redefine their role. The computer age is changing quite a few things. In Illinois, for example, some libraries lend out passes to zoos, and other attractions in addition to more traditional media.

  161. I personally don’t think kids under 16 should be out after 9PM. Don’t they have school tomorrow? On the other hand… 1) isn’t that a matter for their parents? Shouldn’t the police and other parties be taking it up with the adults? 2) I’m a big believer in most people living up to how they’re treated. If kids are being treated like criminals… perhaps this sort of “anticipational” or “preemptive” activity on the part of authority will achieve the direct oposite of its intended results?

  162. Spastasmagoria, if kids out after curfew were being subject to arrest, I’d agree that they were being treated as criminals…and I’d have a problem with this law. However, they are to just be taken home. They aren’t allowed out, they get taken home. To me that is a pretty big difference from being treated like a criminal.

  163. I agree with Ceronomus- the six times I was picked up, I was taken to the police station, and they called my parents to come get me. Believe me I know the difference from being treated like a criminal. It’s good the way they do it, because it inconveniences the parents enough motivate them to deal with the issue. My dad hated being called out of his drinking hole to go to the police station.

  164. Ceronomus, I’ll answer your questions when you actually manage to ask a sensible one, and don’t embed it in a post full of false accusations and strawman arguments. Until you can bring yourself to do the above, kindly eff off.

    Spastasmagoria, kids don’t go to school seven days a week, nor do they go to school year-round. Also, 9 PM isn’t terribly late for a fifteen year old, even if they do have school in the morning. Hell, when I was fifteen, I had school-sponsored activities that weren’t done by 9PM. Sometimes our school theatre rehearsals went on until nearly 11 PM.

    I guess what I’m saying is that while I might fully support a 9PM curfew for kids younger than high school age – just a plain vanilla curfew, mind you, none of this other “dispersal of groups over two” stuff and related nonsense – I really do think that high schoolers need a bit more leeway. And since 16 is the age at which students often finish school in the UK, that means it’s rather limiting to treat someone who is in their last year of school the same way as those in their first year. In the interest of perspective, imagine for a moment if sixteen- and seventeen-year-old high school juniors or seniors in the U.S. were forbidden from being out after 9PM. For many of them that would mean no job, no being in the school play, no going to the movies with a date on a Friday night, no school dances, no prom, no grabbing a pizza after the school basketball game, none of the things that perhaps most of us took for granted as part of our high school lives.

    Is that really what you want for today’s teenagers? Would you have wanted that for yourself at that age? I’m damn near 45, but I sure as hell remember what it was like to be a teenager. Having to have my parents hold my hand everywhere I went would have been unbelievably stifling. How is a teenager supposed to become an independent, responsible, well-adjusted young adult if he or she isn’t given the opportunity to have a few hours every day in which to explore life and society on his/her own, in an unstructured manner?

    I’m continually amazed and disgusted with the modern idea that anyone under the age of sixteen or eighteen must have 100% of their time scheduled, structured and supervised to within an inch of their lives. When I was a kid, we played around the neighborhood after school and on weekends, often with no more supervision than having to give our parents some idea of where we were going, with whom, and what time we’d be home. As a teen, my friends and I spent a lot of our after school free time (if not working) walking in the park, going out for pizza or nachos in downtown restaurants, going to the library, or just hanging out at each other’s houses, even late into the evening. And then most of us got ourselves home under our own power, as our parents expected us to do. And we NEEDED that unstructured time, because it was how we explored who we were and what we wanted out of life. We weren’t getting drunk, we weren’t doing drugs, most of us weren’t even smoking cigarettes, and none of us wound up pregnant, dead, or in jail.

    People seem to forget that it is perfectly possible for someone to be a minor and *not* be a problem.

  165. Troof, are you blaming alcohol or your father for the neglect? Sounds like you blame the drinking. I’ve never been arrested, I blame my father too.

  166. apart from a society and economy so dysfunctional that so many kids live in poverty, what I find distressing about this curfew is that it is yet another expression of a police state machine that has woken up and become independent of any human directives.

    I don’t see any Sutler, any cabal, anyone at all to clearly point to as the author and driving engine of a relentless stripping of basic civil rights and freedoms. Restrictive measures like this one should be resisted as a matter of principle until the tide is turned in the current inundation of liberty. You’ve created a monster and it is slowly consuming you all.

  167. MDH: “Troof, are you blaming alcohol or your father for the neglect? Sounds like you blame the drinking. I’ve never been arrested, I blame my father too.

    Blame? Neglect? None of that. My dad was always fair, and I’ve respected and loved him all my life.
    I was always out at night, often all night, and a few times the cops caught me. They knew us ‘Seeker’ boys all too well.
    The only electrical appliance in the bedroom I shared was the light. It was boring, so I went out. My older brother was a biker, so he had worn poor old Mom down with stress.

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