Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

'CHILDREN should be seen and not heard,' elderly aunts used to recite. But not even the aunts would have considered it the state's duty to dictate when children should and shouldn't be on view. Last week a 12-year-old boy and his 15-year-old brother were banned from the centre of Weston-super-Mare under an antisocial behaviour order. Few in the town, which is said to have endured a three-month crime spree courtesy of the boys, are likely to be sympathetic, but the brothers have been caught by new legal provisions which allow children to be removed from the streets without actually being convicted of any crime. Why a ban on visiting one place should help to deal with the problem of delinquent children is puzzling in any case; the order won't, for example, prevent the Westonsuper-Mare boys from wreaking havoc in Clevedon instead.

Disturbingly, the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act allows local authorities to impose curfews on all children under the age of ten, whether they are causing a nuisance or not. …

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