Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Buzz Off!

I have just been reading on 'Connexions' about the move to ban a device called the Mosquito which is used to dispel gangs of under 25's (those of us older can not hear the piercing noise apparently - obviously a bit like dog whistles).
It would appear to me after almost a quarter of a century working in social housing and indeed living in social housing that there have always been difficulties relating to children and young people playing or gathering in the streets. I can not count how many complaints I have had over the years about children and youths but I do think that there appears to be an increase in these type of complaints. On balance however I have to say that tolerance levels seem to have got lower and here is an example that happened in our street just last year.
There is an alley way that runs between our street and the next street and at the end of this alley way are two stone bollards. During last spring/summer a group of about 6 or 7 youths started using this as a meeting place - as far as I can tell there was no noise, very little litter and no real difficulties other than their presence at the end of this alley way. Within days people were moaning and some even came and sought my advice as they knew I had worked for the local authority before we were transferred to a new organisation. I gave the same advice I would give to our own tenants in these sorts of situation with the rider that unless they were actually causing any trouble there was not much that could be done.
Within a few weeks a temporary camera was fitted to one of the lamp posts to monitor the activities of these youths and it would seem the youths thought they should move position - not that they went away just moved to stand under the camera.
The result of this was that we now have notices from the police saying 'No Loitering'attached to a couple of the lamp posts and essentially the youths feel aggrieved because all they were doing was gathering and talking.
I have to say that I never heard them, never saw them doing anything other than sitting talking and they were not the sort of youths who wore hoodies and looked very intimidating and while I do not dispute, because I know for a fact that there are some very naughty, aggressive young people out there, I feel the danger with the mosquito is that it could be used indiscriminately on any body at any time and while i do think there is a great degree of silliness in the human rights claims we hear about this appears to me to be a recipe for lawyers to make even more money out of claims for damaged ears etc.
I noticed in our local newspaper last night that a local pub had been ordered to stop having entertainment because local people had complained about the noise - I just wonder which was there first the residents or the pub and surely if you live near a pub or any other entertainment venue you can expect some noise and even a little nuisance. Perhaps the moral to this one is don't buy a house near a pub!!


Methodist Preacher said...

It irritates me that lots of people are so keen to write youngsters off.

I caught myself at it last week. There was one lad got on the train that I definately didn't like the look of. He sort of swaggered around and looked dangerous.

When we got into New Street it was all change and the passengers going onto Bristol had to cross to a new passenger.

I noticed the bloke I didn't like the look of helping a frail old lady with her case up the escalator.

I actually felt ashamed of myself for rushing to judgment an hour or so before.

Methodist Preacher said...

sorry cross to a new platform (just had an eye operation and its a bit fuzzy)