If you know the Canterbury road traffic lights in Westgate, opposite the library, you'll know it has had more than its fair share of fatalities, which is why it now has pedestrian crossing lights.
Yesterday, I was stopped in front of the lights, watching three teenagers, "hoodies"in trendy gang gear, between, I guess 13 and 15, sauntering along from the village. They weren't at school and they weren't 'local' in the indigenous sense of the word and instead of waiting and crossing on to the central reservation, they stepped into the road in front of me and walked right through the crossroads and the speeding dual carriageway traffic towards the library, where they finally skipped back onto the pavement again laughing at the thrill of surviving. Motorists did of course have to stop or slow to avoid hitting any one of them.
A police car came from the Minster road in the opposite direction. Did it stop to ask why the boys weren't at school, not that I saw.
You see this kind of deadly juvenile daring behaviour from time to time in Westgate, either on the roads or the railway line; I've seen both but it all rather begs the question as to why, half way through the term, if a place can't be found for these boys in local schools or the authorities are unable to prevent them truanting, then who is failing them and us so badly by allowing them to roam at will in our community?
Ed: Nearly 600 school-age children are being convicted or cautioned for crimes every day, according to new Government figures.
The rate at which youngsters - school pupils and youths - are acquiring criminal records, and being placed on the national DNA database after being arrested, has surged in the past two years. Much of the crime is "youth-on-youth" as we have seen recently in Thanet with the local paper reporting 900 offenses over the year. - See earlier story in the archive.