Sunday, October 16, 2011


Friday night and I was driving my daughter home along the Cliftonville seafront past a line of brightly lit and flashing police cards and ambulances. "What's happening", she asked. "Someone has probably been stabbed." I said, little knowing how close to the truth I was. Being behind the wheel, I resisted the urge to 'Tweet' or take a photograph of the scene. It's all very depressing.

This afternoon, I've had a Westgate resident arrive at my house, at the edge of despair over a well-known care home for troubled youngsters in the town. From all accounts the agencies involved in the challenge of managing these young people are failing very badly indeed and there's the threat, he tells me of more trouble, involving drunk and abusive teenagers, 'kicking-off' this evening.

When I finish writing this entry I will be writing to my fellow ward councillors, MP, KCC and the Police, to express my concerns that such reports of anti-social behaviour are becoming increasingly common. What this will achieve, I don't know because I have the unhappy feeling that rather than being proactive in dealing with the causes, swiftly and effectively, those agencies involved in managing so many thousands of such troubled young people on a wider national basis, are forced to be reactive or helpless or both and can only wring their hands when any community suffers as a consequence.


Peter Checksfield said...

Simon, did you ever get a response to your complaint to the police over that incident a couple of weeks (the one where you chased suspects on your bike)? Just curious.

I must admit that here in the Westbrook cul-de-sac where I live it's actually far quiter in the evenings than it was when I moved here nearly 13 years ago. This is probably because most of the local pubs / clubs have closed down though...

Anonymous said...

anon again!
I thought children's care home emphasised the 'care' word.
Control, is the operative. If there is NO control, then the home should be warned twice, then closed if the trouble persists. No third warning.
Is it a private or a government run home?

DrM. said...


Inspector Pearson called me to apologise for the problems I had experienced and promised that Kent Police would review their procedures as a consequence.

mingles4all said...

Wonder if an ordinary (non-Councillor) member of the public would have got the same response from the police.
If these kids are in a care home then how are they being allowed to get drunk? Since by definition they are below the age at which they can buy alcohol then someone is breaking the law in providing it to them.

DrM. said...

Following my email I had a courtesy call from Inspector Pearson this morning to assure me that appropriate action was now being taken.

I guess this is why you have councillors, to hopefully act as an intermediary when problems occur. I can never make promises to people but I can try to help as best I can and shake the branches of authority until I get some attention.

mingles4all said...

I guess you're right but it's a sad reflection that it should be so.

Anonymous said...

To be fair Mingles it makes sense that Cllrs (& MPs) have a bit more sway with the authorities. Isn't that what we pay them for, to sort out our problems?

mingles4all said...

You're probably right but it still seems sad. They are all constables and sworn to uphold the Queen's Peace. They exercise their authority on behalf of and with the consent of the people and without fear or favour. Bit old-fashioned I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Does this refer to the awful incident where fireworks were being aimed at some teenagers at The Sunken Gardens and resulted in some kids getting assaulted?

If so, it appears that the "chavs" came over from Millmead to sort out the "scene/emo kids" and boy did they do a good job. From my understanding of things, most of the kids are too frightened to give names of those involved for fear of retaliation. It isn't as if when they get to the Youth Court they will get any kind of deterrent.

Anonymous said...

Anon as this is an ongoing investigation.

I live near a drug user - a heroin and crack addict - who steals to fund his habit. He is occasionally caught, but only ever sentenced for minor offences. He has over 80 convictions. He commits the odd crime on his own street, but his main annoyance is the constant stream of drug dealers, users frequenting his property. It's not nice for your kids to see.

Who is responsible? Politicians will say the police, but I'm not sure.

This type of lifestyle is repeated across the isle, some in more places than others. If this behaviors us not going to be tolerated, everyone needs to be involved, but politicians play the most important role.

tedthedog said...

80 previous convictions? Whatever happened to the 'three strikes and you're out' mooted a few short years ago?