Your comments on the Tackling Tomorrow's Tearaways programme.
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I feel it is important to acknowledge the benefits of early intervention and working with these young people who often live in difficult circumstances. While this may not justify their behaviour I feel it is important to support and give them a chance to become valuable members of their community. By refusing to intervine and not investing at the early stages greater problems will be in store for the future.
The problem is that these kids are allowed to get away with murder (sometimes literally). They should be punished for the crimes they commit. We should invest in a building program of prisons in this country. Lock them up for 10 years and once they have finished their punishment, then and only then begin rehabilitation and education. If they are not willing to start learning how to behave after a few years in solitary then they remain in prison until they do. We need to get tough on criminals and not pamper them. Most of us work for a living and we should not have to pay for these scumbags to have a good time and laugh at the rest of us law abiding citizens.
Regardless of what social background someone comes from we all have the chance to go to school and learn. Children in Africa would kill to be able to go to school, our kids have it too easy. I speak as an ex-teacher by the way.
What exactly was the purpose of your programme on YIP's? Billed as how the govt is to tackle delinquency it seemed to concentrate purely on the 'rights' of kids to know whether others had labelled them as delinquents - as if the labelling were the issue!
The behaviour of the kids you filmed was truly frightening particularly on the estate in Essex and the idea that this would be altered by rap lessons was utterly laughable. Immersion in a criminal narrative form will deflect from the valuing of criminal acts, how exactly?
And yet the truly self evident cause of parental deficiency and neglect were hardly touched upon let alone pursued. Take Mary, for instance. What were we supposed to deduce from her example? That she was so damaged because her parents spoke French or her step dad once cut her hair for bad behaviour. The hair cutting is disturbing partly in and of itself but mainly because its likely to be indicative of parental failure or abuse, but not a hint of this.
And so back to the poor youth worker who mutters careful platitudes about parenting being difficult and is then pursued about the real issue of whether little Johnny or little Mary knows they are in the Top 50 delinquents in the area.
Even the bit about the GRIP programme which offered 'straight talking' about parenting did nothing of the sort. So why did X truant or why did Y set fire to things? Not an iota of a suggestion was offered and yet a blind man could have pointed you in the right direction. Clearly something was not right in those families. Yet it was kid gloves all the way. The Holy family was not to be investigated after all.
I am not suggesting the family is the only cause of delinqeunt behaviour. There have been lots of changes in social attitudes and culture that have a bearing on how young people act...but to ignore the family as a prime concern when everything about your proramme pointed in that direction was more than disappointing. It left your proramme empty and vacuous and gave the viewer the despondant feeling that if even so called brave investigative journalism can't get to grips with this most important of social ills ,then no one ever will.
Frankly all that stayed with me was the truly disturbing images of aggressive and out of control children and a sense of complete impotence.
Dave McHale, UK
I think that the programme was a real eye-opener for all of the parents and teachers watching. Children only get up to mischief when they are bored and as they grow older it gets worse and worse. Thank God for schemes like Y.I.P because I know that if there were things like that going on when I was 13 or 14 I it would have distracted me from things like alcohol and recreational drugs. I don't agree with rewarding bad behaviour with trips to Blackpool because sooner or later they will have to pay the price for their wrong doings but locking up youngsters will only make the problem worse. Youngsters need to relate to someone who's been there and done that, so they can learn from other peoples experiences. If you bring in a teenage boy who's been locked up for however long for dealing drugs or doing robbery they will see that making fast quick easy money only leads to a cell, if you're lucky, or a grave.
Michaela , Birmingham
After watching your programme I was amazed to see how much the government is putting into young people and their issues. My worry for these young people is their parents. Not enough is being done to try and solve the issues where the parents are concerned. Trying to deal with the young people is treating a symptom and not the cause, I would dearly love to see programmes geared towards better parenting and where they may be making mistakes with their children. I am not blaming parents for their children's behaviour the young people are responsible for their choices but why is it some of the young people from the same estates don't behave in the same way as those who get into trouble look to the parenting, it makes it a lot easier to deal with youth than it is with parents. >Amanda Foran, uk
Watching this programme tonight only highlighted to me that schools have a moral obligation to assist children early on, to help prevent future problems. Schools have access to outside agencies to help children at risk, schools should not be allowed to permanently exclude children. They should introduce new policy to include all children and support them positively, by every means possible. But if YIP or others schemes alike help one child then it's good. But to me the buck stops with schools.
A concerned parent, England
These schemes are good from the point of view that they are stopping children from getting into trouble. But what about the good kids, the kids that don't cause trouble, the kids that belong to parents that don't have enough money to take their kids on day trips to Thorpe park or holidays, or even be able to afford lessons on DJ'ing and such like. What is going to become of these youngsters? I have a feeling that these youngsters are going to be turning to petty crime, truancy and such like to enable them to feel IMPORTANT and to be part of this IMPORTANT scheme. So Sir Charles Pollard what do you intend to set up for these kids, the ones that stay in school, the ones that are constantly being teased for being a swat, the ones that get A* Grades. When are these children going to be getting what they deserve?
I watched your programme on teenage tearaways and I think that it is absolutely disgraceful that so much money and work is wasted on these youngsters. If any other person without any background problems did the crimes they commit, they would be prosecuted whereas these youngsters are being treated to Mcdonalds and taken on trips. I'm sure that the law is there for everyone to abide by and it isn't different for those with certain background problems. So if you do the crime you do the time not go to Blackpool as a reward. Sir Charles Pollard seemed to believe that the legal system on prosecution was not in fact a beneficial punishment but a way to get them into more trouble, so as far as he is concerned the jails we have are of no use so why on earth do we have them and why do other criminals such as murders not get taking to Alton Towers for a day out rather than sent to jail to do the time in which they deserve.
It is shocking to see how the authorities are apparently only interested in people as risk factors and not as human beings. Watching the programme it is difficult not to be cynical and believe that the schemes are more useful in providing jobs for professionals than in solving social problems. Surely, being "tough on the causes of crime" means rejecting a society that does not care for anything except for cyphers and targets on the one hand and commercial profit on the other hand.
If Blair really wants to get tough on crime then he should look deep into the mirror - and then perhaps he will understand that if the government leader has no reverse gear - then why should those with much less have one. Being tough on the causes of crime means being tough on the politicians that have created such a meaningless and worthless society.
Consecutive British governments have pushed Britain down the road of American style greed to an American style society -and now the public are paying the price. New Labour and its Thatcherite policies offer large sections of the public no choice - and from such a position of hopelessness it is no wonder that they turn to crime.
Give people a future, give them something worth holding on to - and they will try and preserve it -but take away their future and they will have nothing to loose. When elected - who would have thought that Blair would have turned out to be the offender he has proved to be?
Trevor Batten, NL
As a parent of five children between the ages of 10 and 17, I would like to think that if any of my children were on the top 50 list, it would be discussed with me and we could work together to prevent them from offending. I think the scheme sounds good, but if information is been held on under 18 year olds and parents are not aware is data protection not been infringed.
Dianne Snowdon, Tyne & Wear
It is sad to see young people behaving in such a manner and getting themselves into trouble with the police so early in their lives. Youth Inclusion Programmes are a good idea, but I do wonder if they are catching the children early enough. I thought that by the time many of the children came to their attention, it was too late for some of them. The 8 to 12 age group is probably the right age to begin a programme like this. They will benefit greatly at this age before getting into more serious trouble. More attention should be focused on the cause of their many problems. These programmes and the people who run them are to be applauded for trying their best to help the children. It is however a two-way process and the children have a big part to play if they are to gain the best advantages from the programme they are on.
Steve Fuller, England
I thought the programme was very good. I'm only 15 years of age and I think that their should be something like a youth club in my area. Manchester, Cheetham Hill
Zuhaib Hussain, England
I watched your programme with great interest.
My reaction is Thank Goodness for this scheme.
I believe ALL children can be made good, with the right help. I would be glad if all my council tax could fund a scheme like this. Good luck to YIP!
Margaret Freeguard, Devon
I've been watching the programme tonight. One of the kids in the programme said they committed crime because they were 'poor'. If it wasn't so serious it would have made me laugh - I was in Africa last week and somebody dressed from head to foot in designer gear couldn't call themselves poor.