« Previous | Main | Next »

Young people and the criminal justice system.

Eddie Mair | 12:51 UK time, Thursday, 6 September 2007

As I mentioned in the PM newsletter, I've interviewed Sally O'Neill QC, who chairs the Criminal Bar Association.

An edited version will be broadcast tonight - here is the full version - it's about ten minutes long.


  1. At 01:16 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Brian Christley wrote:

    To show their disapproval of their bosses’ decision to abandon its involvement in Planet Relief – the BBC’s PM team gave free air time to Friends of the Earth’s chief UK propagandist, an organisation that must rank amongst the most counterproductive campaign groups of the decade.

  2. At 01:16 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Brian Christley wrote:

    How much does it cost the BBC’s licence payers to provide ex-PM presenters with useful pocket money for spending a few seconds announcing the contact details for our PM comments? Or is it part of the BBC’s pension plan?

  3. At 01:27 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Lou Cowt wrote:

    Twitter is being upgraded!

    It'll have super strength and agility when it wakes up. Hang tight!

  4. At 01:33 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Brian - it cost millions. Less importantly - this isn't really the place for your comment is it? :o)

  5. At 01:40 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    re Sally O'Neill interview:

    Good to hear someone who knows about these things suggesting that we need more facilities for young people. If we don't want them indoors all the time(and every parent knows why this might be the case) then we must provide them with somewhere else to go where they can be safe and find something congenial to do. If we don't provide that, then they will congregate in parks, at train stations etc - and will, from time to time, end up getting into trouble.


  6. At 02:17 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Sid (4) You are so right. As the mother of a teenage son, I am aware that even congregating in parks (quietly, peacefully...) can been perceived as a threat by some sectors of the community.
    I am fortunate in that my son is very sporty, so spends a lot of his free time playing golf, cricket, football and rugby. It's okay for us - we have the means to pay his fees and subs, and can transport him to where he needs to be. I'm sure there are many lads who would love to do the same but don't have the back-up or the funds to enable them to participate.
    The only ''Youth Club'' around here is one where the ''naughty boys'' go, so there's another option closed.
    These teenagers don't ask for much - just a place where they can hang out, where they're not obliged to spend money and are not perceived as a nuisance.

  7. At 03:02 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Ever since I can remember, people have been saying something needs to be done for "Youth".

    Yet when I was a youth I was too busy doing my school homework to go out much. How do they find the time? Surely they're not plagiarising essays off the Internet every time? Running youth clubs is extremely hard work, and I take my hat off to those who persevere in the face of opposition from all quarters, especially some of the youths themselves.

    Near us there is a teenagers' shelter where they can "Hang out". I haven't see it by day, so cannot comment on its condition.

  8. At 04:39 PM on 06 Sep 2007, David McNickle wrote:

    Brian, I guess you've been told. Now I probably will be as well.

    Young people and the criminal justice system. I'm in favor of it. :•)

  9. At 08:35 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Natural Blonde wrote:

    In my village, when I was a teenager we used to hang about the lych gate of the church chatting.

    The boys used to park their mopeds all in a row and come and chat up us girls.

    The Vicar, yes, the Vicar put down nails along the path to puncture the tyres of the boys mopeds so we wouldn't sit there. It worked, we all moved to hang around the village Rec and spent our time swinging on the swings meant for the kids.

    I paid him back late at night a couple of years later by doing all sorts of things with a young man called Glenn with two 'n's, that were perhaps a little inappropriate for a lych gate. Well, to my mind at the time, it paid him back - not that he knew it.

    Young people always hang around and older people have been complaining about 'youths' since the middle ages.

    It's true to say there are some badly behaved ones but there are far more harmless groups. To my mind the most antisocial person in our village in the 1980's was the Vicar with his nails!

  10. At 12:17 AM on 07 Sep 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    For some reason the rather marvellous tune "Stripper Vicar" by Mansun springs to mind...

  11. At 01:46 PM on 07 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Natural Blonde @ 9:
    'Young people always hang around and older people have been complaining about 'youths' since the middle ages.'

    Longer than that, I expect! They ol' greeks complained that the yoof of today weren't up to the high standards of their forebears, I think. ;-)

    The thing that always seems to me is that the grown-ups of every generation look back at their own younger years with very rose-tinted spectacles on, and always think they were ever so much better than people of that age are now. It's all in how you look at it, just like everything else, and people *want* to think they are better than everyone else. That's all.

    Someone of sixteen now is just as likely as someone of sixteen thirty years or sixty years ago to be a perfectly ordinary human being. S/he is also just as likely to be a horrible little pain in the butt. Age has less to do with it than what the person (of whatever age) is like inside.

    Does that sound fair?

  12. At 08:41 PM on 10 Sep 2007, Ann Andrews wrote:

    In our village there is very little crime, but occasionally the youngsters get drunk and do mischief. They are bored out of their minds, some can't read or write, but I believe if we could get to know them we could make life better for them. Their parents are far too busy earning enough to live on, and that's not easy in country villages. You have to have petrol to get to work in the local towns, at nearly £i per litre. Wages are not as high as in big towns and cities, but the food costs as much. And buses only run once every two hours. They do give the school children good transport, but there are no late buses to get you home from the cinema or other entertainment places.

    I believe that the fears in some districts are real, but in most of the country a bit of friendliness and a lot fewer harsh words and pomposity would be better. Even with my accent, I can get round their jeers and get along fine with them. I was even a 'granny' who hepled the primary school children of Lambeth learn to read. One of the teachers said I was a bit feisty because we were having so much fun.

    I can get on with anyone, and I don't really take any notice if someone is unpleasant, I usually suppose they've had a nasty row, or just feel grumpy.

    To my mind it is better to prevent bad behaviour than to let it need punishment, and certainly not prison. I've never understood why there are no classes for engineering and wood work, reading and writing, music, acting etc. etc. for people in Prison and children in detention. Anyone who is sent to prison has a good chance of coming out with full marks for criminality.

  13. At 09:06 PM on 11 Sep 2007, Ann Andrews wrote:

    Any dog can turn vicious, whether well trained or not, and if it’s owner is cruel he will be nervous and, like children, learn to be cruel to any one, especially small children who move sharply, and squeak and scream and dash about, and have no idea of when they are hurting the animal.

    To my mind many people do not know how to train a dog. You must first make sure it knows you are the boss, if you tell it to do something, even when it is a cuddly little puppy, you must make sure it does what you have asked it to, before you give it a treat. Puppy’s and dogs need 10 or 15 minutes training every day, a training that you must make it fun.

    When you, on your own, or when friends come into the house, you must ignore the dog’s excitement at your return. If he continues jumping up, everyone must turn their back on the dog, until he calms down. He must also learn that you cannot continually play with him, Play for a while, and then to stop him, ignore him, do not look into his eyes, and turn your back, if necessary.

    Never let him pull on his lead. Just stand stock still, and wait until he has slackened off the lead. It is boring, but they learn very quickly, but you must never give in, or he will wickedly think you are not as strong as you ought to be.

    What I am trying to say is that it is not just fun and games to be a dog owner, after every meal you must take him to where you want him to perform, in the garden or in a field, or a litter tray. It gets very boring and tiring, but it works. And people should not buy dogs until they have the time to train them properly, everyday, and never let them get away with anything.
    Small children and dogs do not always work out well.

    I even trained my grandchildren in the same way. When they threw a tantrum, I picked up a book and opened it and turned my back and started reading. After darting from side to side, and me still keeping my back to them, they thought about it and gradually and became friendly again!

  14. At 08:12 PM on 13 Sep 2007, Ann Andrews wrote:

    The power of youth in the modern western world, and others,

    There are almost as many ways of reacting to rowdy and uncouth youths as there are people
    around them. I do not believe that shouting or screaming self-importantly will help in any situation. In fact if you enrage the culprits they will get even more violent. I have only been confronted in this way a few times, once on a train, I went to the loo and came back to find 15 or so drunken young football fans had found seats and the rest were surging around, uselessly. One of them was sitting on my scarf and newspaper, on my seat. I stood and asked them, West Ham supporters, ‘How did you get on’? I can’t remember exactly what their words were, and I don’t suppose they do either. I can chat football, because I enjoy watching if it is a good game. I then ventured to explain that one of them had taken my seat. They started off, ridiculing me and saying that was too bad, I shouldn’t have left it. I laughed and said that they would not have wanted to sit there if I’d had to pee on the seat. A little bit more repartee, and the young man got up, lifted his baseball cap, bowed ridiculously, and let me sit down.
    I learnt a lot from them, about hooliganism, getting drunk and even a bit about drugs. This occurred before the bigger drug scene. They admitted they would not be hooligans if they did not drink so much.

    The greater the attack or attackers the more belligerent people get.

    President Bush killed thousands in Iraq with his powerful and expensive weapons, so much better to spend the money on improving the lives of his millions of citizens that do not have enough food, healthcare and decent homes and employment.

    Ahmedinajad would do better not to destroy Israelis, but help to make better the lives of Iran’s poor, and help the Palestinians to build a sound and proper state to live and work in.

    The Israeli administration could also do a lot more for their own people by restraining their powerful weaponry from killing thousands of Palestinians indiscriminately, and giving some of the money not used in warring, to help the Palestinians create a new and peaceful state.

    The Palestinians would also be able to give a lot more help to their people if they stopped indiscriminately battering Israeli towns and villages. Hamas and Hezbullah have used some of their funds for improving the lives of their people, and then spoil it by attacking Israel yet again, when they know very well there will be a harsh retaliatory raid. This has a double effect of wreaking chaos and still no proper life for their people.

    If we could somehow turn our backs on these desecrators, the youths and all the other larger groups, ignore them, they might stop their cruelty because they no longer feel so powerful.

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.