Saturday, October 28, 2006

A controlling order too far ?


Police in England are determined to stamp down on anti-social behaviour on Hallow'een according to a report on the BBC.

Which is all fair and good, apart from the comment right at the end of that report from a spokesperson for Warwickshire Police who states "
...they're the ones we will be cracking down hard on and that sort of behaviour can be knocking and running away from doors, ringing doorbells and running away"

A fixed penalty notice of £80 is available for issue by police for such heinous crimes as knocking on doors and running away and while no-one could argue with the police patrolling the streets to keep an eye open for gangs of youths causing criminal damage to property (for instance) then you have to raise an eyebrow at the waste of police time (and overtime) in putting extra officers and vehicles on the streets to "crack down hard (sic) on ringing doorbells and running away"

The celebration of Hallow'een is a fairly recent phenominum in the UK, hard on the heels and overshadowed as it is by bonfire night on the 5th Nov. When ah wor nobbut a lad in Yorkshire we had "mischievous night" on the 4th Nov during which we kids could knock on doors and run away with impunity, safe from £80 on the spot fines

Note for Non-Uk readers - Bonfire Night celebrates the capturing of a group of renegades who had plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 in a bid to ressurect a catholic monarch onto the throne of England - the plotters were caputred in the act of preparing the explosives in the cellers of Parliament on the 5th November and in accordance with the law of the country were not handed out an £80 on the spot fine but instead were hung until nearly dead, viscerated (de-gutted), dragged through the streets of London behind horses, then split asunder with swords (quartered) and bits of them stuck on spikes in various public areas - a little harsh perhaps when a fixed penalty and a caution would have sufficed, but it was pre-Blair and pre-police-state.

Other "mischievous" acts available to us young whippersnappers on 4th Nov - the eve of the Gunpowder Plot when the barrels of explosives were allegedly delivered to Parliament - included smearing treacle on car or house door handles, tying rubbish bins to car bumpers and stuffing potatoes up car exhaust pipes - eeeh we were wicked little buggers and no question.

Now of course we have inherited the phenominum of Hallow'een from the USA and no-one can surely object to groups of small children and their parents visiting neighbouring doorsteps for "trick or treats" - the problem is that in our unique British yob society the Hallow'een celebration has simply served to extend "mischievous night" into five nights of anti-social behaviour, and where you get complaints of anti-social behaviour you get a knee-jerk reaction from government ministers who use the police as a large sledgehammer to crack a small walnut and thus ingratiate themselves with the public - its rule by tabloid headline in 2006 UK and this makes for a warm feeling of "goodness" amongst MP's.

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

You missed the most common form of mischief on mischief night. Setting light to people's bonfires a day early. I guess that'd be arson these days:

"What is the nature of your complaint?"

"Someone burnt a big pile of wood I'd got stored"

"Was it valuable?"

"No, I was saving it so I could burn it today..."