Cuddly copper Chief Inspector Andy ‘Gordon’ Bennett has put his foot in it again!
The police’s drive to reach Government detection targets has lead to excessive and unnecessary criminalisation of young people. That is the opinion of a respected Professor, Rod Morgan the ex-Chair of the Youth Justice Board. I am proud to say this is not the attitude of the Avon and Somerset Police.
Oops – is this the same A&S which more and more routinely uses dispersal orders to outlaw citizens gathering in public spaces, having the effect of, say, ‘excessively and unnecessarily criminalising young people’? Such as with the Poet’s Park punish-all-for-the-crimes-of-the-few shenanigans? Or the summer-long dragnet over College Green?
(The defence – as employed by A&S ‘anti-social behaviour coordinator’ Kathryn Perks – that dispersal orders are only “to be used against groups that are causing problems…If people are just sitting around quietly, they will not be moved on” is, of course, thoroughly disingenuous, in that there are already many provisions in criminal law relating to violence, property damage and disturbance of the peace and public order.)
PS I’m cautiously in agreement that ‘restorative justice’ is a potentially useful tool with which to address crime. However, as ever it depends on precisely what form ‘restorative justice’ takes, and as with many things, the buzz-word is applied to a variety of different versions, some less effective than others.