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Last Updated: Friday, 20 May, 2005, 10:24 GMT 11:24 UK
Should Bluewater ban baseball caps?
Young couple
Prime minister Tony Blair and deputy prime minister John Prescott have backed a shopping mall's crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

Mr Blair said that "Respect towards other people is a modern yearning as much as a traditional one".

The Bluewater retail and leisure centre in Kent has banned shoppers who swear or wear hooded tops. Smoking, leafleting and canvassing have also been outlawed.

What do you think of the ban by Bluewater? Will it reduce threatening behaviour? What fashion would you ban?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Tim, UK/Germany
Not all anti-social behaviour is caused by people wearing hoods/caps, and it's naive to think this. What do other people think?

The irony of this is that some shops in Bluewater will still sell "hoodies" I wear branded hoodies which advertise the sport I support. As long as you ain't covering your face why ban them all?
Ian Dean, Dagenham, UK

It's about time. People should be free from harassment of kids who developed without any guidance. Furthermore all attire that prevents recognition should be banned in public places.
Antonio, UK

Whilst I respect Bluewater's decision surely this is just going to transfer the problem back to already struggling small town businesses who can hardly afford the security systems that Bluewater probably has in droves. Also why do we keep talking about more police on the street? Surely the problem lies with the parents for such a lack of discipline. I think the problem goes much deeper than hoods and caps!
Laura, Durham

What a pathetic load of rubbish! Much as I dislike modern 'yoof culture' I find it offensive that I should be branded a yob because of what I wear! Will Kent Constabulary now tell victims of assault that they were asking for it because of their dress? The idiots who come up with such bizarre schemes are the anti-social hooligans trampling on the civil liberties of others. Incidentally, I am a 45 year old teacher and a former police officer.
Peter, Italy

Are they trying to imply that everyone who wears a hooded top is a thug?
John, London
I'm a 35 year old personal trainer and I wear hooded tops regularly but I've never been involved in anti-social behaviour as described by the Bluewater management. Does this mean that I cannot go to do some shopping at this centre as I may be wearing a hooded top if it's a bit chilly? Are they trying to imply that everyone who wears a hooded top is a thug? I'll certainly be taking my business elsewhere. I agree with the baseball cap ban though. Horrible, ugly things.
John, London

Turn up the heating and ban all clothing. This will make everyone more easily recognisable and the shoplifters will have nowhere (almost) to hide the stolen items.
T. Newman, Bournemouth UK

Ban all hoods, baseball hats and any other device that make these thugs hard to recognise.
Stan, Edgware

It's obvious that teenagers will just defy this order. This is a short term solution to a long term problem, it isn't the necessary remedy to sort out an issue like this. Teenagers need to be embraced into society hassle free and with as much efficiency as possible. In my opinion, all this will do is push teenagers further away from the chances of an amicable rehabilitation to ensure the transition into adults is simple.
Ben Stephenson, Berwick

I had the pleasure of attending a boarding school where baseball caps were banned (except for the watching of school sport in the winter term). At the time I thought the ban was outrageous but looking back I am more than grateful for it. I think any move to reduce the amount of American influence on our society is a good thing.
Ed H, UK

Isn't this ban just another example of our rights to freedom being driven away when what is really required is a return to a quality standard? For Mr Prescott to agree with the ban is running away from a proper solution and again just papering over the cracks.
Ian, Daventry

Whether we like it or not, the way someone dresses provokes an instant reaction in us
Claire, London, England
Whether we like it or not, the way someone dresses provokes an instant reaction in us and causes an immediate judgement. For some this means that hoodies and caps provoke fear. This fear may not actually be necessary but that does not make it any less real. That is why this is a valid decision made by the management at Bluewater.
Claire, London, England

For once, John Prescott is right. Yobs have adopted hoodies as a uniform which represents intimidation, foul language and bad behaviour in public places. The centre is right to ban them and the zero tolerance policy is to be welcomed. Banning the garb will not rid public places of marauding yobs but backed with stronger policing, it is a good start... Well done Bluewater and the Kent police for taking a lead.
Ken, England, UK

This is absolutely stupid. Wearing a baseball cap does not harm anyone. People's behaviour needs to change but not what they wear. I saw people not wearing caps or a hood but still behaving badly. Many parents need to educate themselves and children on good behaviour. ASB has nothing to do with wearing caps, complete rubbish.
Christine, London

For goodness sake! If they aren't out to cause trouble why on earth would they wish to conceal their identities? I applaud Bluewater and hope that Manchester establishments follow toute suite so that we can deter the gangs of roaming rubbish that litter our streets and shopping centres.
Mark, Manchester, UK

This is a similar measure to banning helmets from banks and is totally sensible
Adam, London
Hoodies have been banned from some shops in my local shopping centre in Walthamstow for some time. It's pretty obvious why; it's hard to pick out a face on CCTV when covered by a hoodie and cap. This is a similar measure to banning helmets from banks and is totally sensible.
Adam, London

Note that all the supposedly 'smart' responses are predominantly from those outside the South East. Bluewater is a shopping and leisure centre protecting its client base - it's a private space - they can do what they like to keep the customers they want. Kids in hoods don't spend money.
Christopher Gough, London, UK

I am a decent law abiding citizen. I work, pay taxes and wear a baseball cap at the weekends or some evenings. Not to look intimidating, but because I like them, and it saves me having to do my hair!
Craig Hadfield, Ipswich, UK

What a good idea. I am sure the majority of the law-abiding public of this country wants to see more public places impose this kind of ban... I was mugged twice when I was living in London, by the hood-gangs operating in the London underground and shop car parks.
Rohan, Birmingham, UK

Yobos have rights, but so do other people (and businesses)
Noel, Stockport UK
Yobos have rights, but so do other people (and businesses). If we choose to ban people wearing concealing clothing, that is our right. Hood-wearers and their apologists may not like it, but plenty of people feel intimidated by them - so if you choose to wear these, remember the proverb "If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas".
Noel, Stockport UK

I am 49 and wear a baseball cap. I need it to keep the sun off my face. However, I do remove it when I enter buildings.
Peter Evans, Bristol

This is ridiculous. I dislike these horrible urchins as much as the next man, but the nanny state is going too far. Prescott, instead of condoning this petty thing, should do something about the root of the problem with these chavsters - they are ill educated, prospectless future state institution inmates.
Ben Relle, Tonbridge, Kent

There is no way this would hold up in the US. What is it with Europe and banning head gear. It's scarves in France, baseball hats in England - what next cowboy hats in Spain? Does anyone think banning on what one can wear on one's head is going to solve anti-social behaviour?
Mike Daly, Miami, US

If I wanted to buy one of the baseball caps or hooded tops that are sold in Bluewater's shops, would I be allowed to try it on first?
Kevan, London, UK

A cap or a hoodie alone does not make one a "thug". Maybe Kent needs to find some activities for these "thugs" rather than having them hanging around a mall looking for some entertainment
Rudi, Melbourne, Australia
What is really scary about this whole debate is the voracity in which some people have responded positively against the banning of certain types of clothing. I for one believe in a democratic choice. We're forced to be "professional" at work, forced to wear school uniforms, forced to open bags in various stores on the pretext that you are shoplifting. Let people be individual. A cap or a hoodie alone does not make one a "thug". Maybe Kent needs to find some activities for these "thugs" rather than having them hanging around a mall looking for some entertainment.
Rudi, Melbourne, Australia

I think it is admirable that Bluewater have banned such items. The very reason they are worn is to intimidate and avoid being caught on CCTV. Anyone who thinks it is an infringement should try walking past a group of 20 teenagers wearing caps and hoods late at night. Surely their behaviour is an infringement on my freedom to go where I like when I like without fearing for my safety?
Jon, Surrey

In the scheme of things if we're debating on the "right" to wear a baseball cap and hoodie top, then life can't be so bad. At least it's increasing choice - if you don't like such attire, shop at Bluewater, if you do, shop elsewhere. That's the beauty of the economic system we live in!
Claire, Scotland

I think that the problem of these youngsters is a very serious one, but a blanket ban on caps and hoods might not be the best answer. Many people wear such apparel for perfectly innocent, and often practical reasons. The problem is caused by groups of young people loitering and being abusive. So why not ban groups of more than three or four youngsters, unless accompanied by an adult?
C, Cardiff

Did we complain when banks banned crash helmets? no - didn't think so. The reason for this ban is not to discriminate against people in hooded tops, but to ensure that if someone does perpetrate a crime, then they are identifiable.
Matt, Birmingham

Dress code policies are not new. Just as banks ask for the removal of motorcycle helmets, a shopping centre is entitled to request the removal of hooded tops if they feel threatened by shoplifters and anti-social behaviours.
Mark, Edinburgh, Scotland

We live in a society in which some teens are emulating the "gangsta" culture. They are abusive, disrespectful and sometimes violent. It is not the caps that are the problem. It is the lack of parental supervision in our society which fosters this teen counter culture which has become a serious problem. Getting rid of caps treats the symptom, not the problem. Until society stands up against this counter culture, the problems will continue.
Fiona, Manchester, UK

This is a little bit more of our freedom being chipped away
KR, London, UK
This is a little bit more of our freedom being chipped away. People may agree with Bluewater but it won't be too long before this restriction of freedom encroaches on their own territory.
KR, London, UK

My local has had this rule for months. It's not about enforcing fashion rules it's about testing the kids' respect for authority. The ones who comply and take the hats off (ie. respect the authority of the landlord to make his own rules) are the ones less likely to cause trouble.
Colin, UK

Time to get a grip - kids wearing clothes their elders don't approve of, hanging around in crowds and being perceived as a threat. This isn't new and it's not a serious threat. The peak age of offending is low (18 for males and 15 for females) but it has always been around that. Teddy boys, mods, rockers, punk all faced this same reaction. It's about time people started thinking rationally rather than just jumping on the bandwagon.
Jude, Cambridge

People who shop often in Bluewater know what it is like. Personally I find it irritating rather than frightening but I can see why a group in hoodies can be frightening especially in a car park - which is a common sight. What opposers are forgetting is that it is about fear of crime and fear of space that certain groups feel and if this is reduced by banning hoodies and caps then great!
Anon, UK

I assume the Bluewater shopkeepers will also ban their members from selling hooded tops and baseball caps?
Keith Simpson, Musselburgh, Scotland

I do worry about such restrictions upon personal freedom. However gangs of youths hanging around swearing and generally causing a nuisance can be very intimidating for some people, especially the old who have the right to feel safe in a public place and not to be subjected to such antisocial behaviour. If these youths respected the rights of others there would be no need to introduce such measures.
Eileen, Rotherham

Banning the clothes isn't going to stop the problem. What will happen when the fashion changes? Foul Language and intimidating behaviour isn't going to stop as soon as these people stop wearing caps and hoods. It's just the fashion. Get over it or deal with the problem.
Trish, Grays, Essex

A yob will behave like a yob whether he or she does or does not wear their hat. This is an illogical and stupid measure that will do nothing to stop yobbish behaviour. What about tackling the root causes of bad behaviour? Like making sure adults in authority over children enforce good manners and discipline!
A Rye, UK / Spain

they can hide their identity from the CCTV cameras and security guards, making it harder for them to be identified in case of arrest.
Claire Herbert, London, UK
Surely part of the issue Bluewater are trying to tackle isn't that youths wear these items but do so specifically because they can hide their identity from the CCTV cameras and security guards, making it harder for them to be identified in case of arrest.
Claire Herbert, London, UK

If the people in question can prove they are there to shop and not just hang around, let them wear what they want. If they are just hanging around because they are too small minded to be doing something with themselves... Move them out!
Ian Cashman, Pboro UK

If a ban, then it needs to apply to all ages - that is from infants to the elderly. Otherwise the solution becomes the problem which is perceived to be discriminatory.
Thor and Julien, London

Ban those who are actually antisocial or actually threaten by all means whatever they wear, but be aware that it is the behaviour that is objectionable not an item of clothing which is just that.
Grant, Hertford, UK

This has to be the daftest thing i have heard for a while. Banning a type of clothes because it is largely associated with trouble. It's a shopping centre, for Christ's sake. Why not have an age limit like nightclubs, that way they can enforce clothing styles as well. They obviously have more money than sense.
Adam, Leeds

I'm always pleased to be in a pub where the staff ask people to take baseball caps off on entry. It changes the mood instantly. I think it's a shame that people feel it's necessary to overanalyse such a simple solution to this problem. I hope the shopping centre does not reverse their policy, enforce it strongly, and I hope that it works for them.
Nick, Sheffield

I think they've taken the phrase "clothes maketh the man" a little too literally here. Banning hooded tops isn't going to stop anti-social behaviour - the culprits are just going to wear something else, and behave in exactly the same way.
BS, Durham, UK

I think this is absolutely ridiculous as it impacts against people who are going about their every day lives and have never been in trouble with the police. I wear a baseball cap as a fashion statement, to hide a bad hair day or to block the sun from my eyes. It has never entered my head that it hides my face from the big brother CCTV cameras and I would not wear one for this reason anyway. This strikes me as being very dictatorial behaviour.
Katie, South West

I think this plan is a good idea. It's about time we took acts to prevent anti-social behaviour. People should be able to leave their house without fear of being intimidated or worse. I hope this is the start of many crackdowns on anti-social behaviour.
Chris, Cheam, Surrey

Absolutely ridiculous, unenforceable and simply vilifies anyone who wears a cap
Paul Fannon, Leeds
Absolutely ridiculous, unenforceable and simply vilifies anyone who wears a cap. Utter nonsense. It's a lot like the 'no trainers in clubs' rule. It presupposes that all people in trainers cause trouble and that by simply wearing shoes they won't. It's just simple stupidity stupidly put.
Paul Fannon, Leeds

A mall is a private place, not a public space, albeit the public are welcome. If Bluewater feel that people wearing hoodies and baseball caps intimidate customers, they have a right, indeed a responsibility, to act. I wear a baseball cap but I'd doff it if visiting Bluewater.
Mark Fisher, Ottawa, Canada

The high street and city centres are being eradicated by bland shopping centres that edit out people on the fringes, no problem people wanted please - care in the community? Not in these centres, no rain, no dirt, no dogs, no drunks, no youth (unless you are spending). I for one shall vote with my wallet and give them as little as possible by supporting the high streets and the side streets.
Bartholemew Smithson, Belfast, N Ireland

Well my family for one are more than happy to visit Bluewater with the ban in place. In fact far from boycotting the place we will go there instead of Bromley and Lakeside. Children's charities should focus on protecting vulnerable children rather than pretending that hoodlum gangs wearing a recognised 'uniform' of intimidation are 'misunderstood' - views that are typical of softheaded liberals.
David, Kent

For what reason does anyone need to wear a hooded top up indoors? It's a trend copied from US rap stars and like the low slung jeans is an association with the prison and gangsta culture. It is meant to be threatening by hiding the face from view and imitate the armed robber look. No one says it is wrong to own a hooded top or baseball cap, only that the obscuring of the face in this way is obviously a security issue.
Chris Pollard, London, England

The adoption of caps and hoodies by street criminals is simply a response to the proliferation of CCTV.
Griff, Cardiff, Wales

I think it's a good idea, as baseball cap-wearing yobs always try to hide their identity. But also baggy jeans worn loose and very low enough to see the wearers boxing shorts or pants is also an indicator and also unnecessarily gross to see.
Robert Murphy, London

There's nothing wrong with maintaining decent standards of dress
Nick, Whitstable, UK
Well done Bluewater - and for once Pressa for offering his support. There's nothing wrong with maintaining decent standards of dress. The bigger issue is there is little or no shame for being caught committing a crime. Allow media to name juveniles appearing in court and sentence the youths to a few hours in a modern version of the stocks and being held up to public ridicule. Much quicker and cheaper than doling out ASBOs, youth detention, community service and fines which will never be paid.
Nick, Whitstable, UK

That's a laugh, Prescott feeling 'intimidated'. Is it OK to punch people then as long as you are in the appropriate attire?
Evan, Edinburgh

Instead of banning hooded tops and baseball caps, ban the known troublemakers at the door.
Lizzie, Harrogate, UK

Your dress is dictated on a daily basis, at work people have to wear a tie, shirt and shoes, certain clothing is the law for some locations eg building sites. I worked at a pub which banned the wearing of football team tops and it saved so much hostility. Why is it acceptable in these places and yet a shopping mall is looked upon dimly for a similarly principled move?
Nick, Hants

It is a start in sorting out the problem of anti-social behaviour. This style is intimidating and threatening, especially to older people. The whole culture is very aggressive, from the style of clothes to the lyrics of hip hop music (ban this too).
Ryan, Surrey

How silly. I am a 44-year-old balding male. I wear hoodies and caps to protect my head from the sun and rain, and now I am a yob?
Bill Lewsey, St Austell, Cornwall

Baseball caps in conjunction with hoods are used to conceal the face and any recognition. I have witnessed a few offences and have suffered anti-social behaviour outside my home. I always confront anyone I am not happy with wearing a baseball hat and hood. Should I be attacked by one or more youths I will retaliate to the maximum of my ability to incapacitate the offender and affect a citizen's arrest. They are better off banned from Bluewater for their own safety.
David Brown, Gravesend, Kent

If as a police officer I was to judge people by their clothing style I would soon end up being disciplined by the Police Complaints Board, vilified by the race relations industry and criticised by politicians. As a private company I am encouraged by the same politicians to judge people by their clothing. There must be some message in all this?
Barry P, Havant, England

If these creatures play baseball, then fair enough, but I doubt they do
John, London
Of course baseball caps should be banned! They're an affront to civilised society and yet another unwanted import from our trailer trash cousins across the pond! If these creatures play baseball, then fair enough, but I doubt they do.
John, London

I have to laugh at this one as my wife tells me that OK and Hello magazine always feature lots of celebs who wear baseball caps. Does that mean they will get banned if they visit? I think not. The emphasis should be on getting these anti-social gangs off the streets and into decent jobs. I am sure the Falklands need some gardeners.
Mark, Leeds

If the owners of Bluewater do not have the right to determine the rules of the use of their property, by what logic does anyone else?
Nick Rowe, London, UK

It would be interesting to see if the wearers of such garments still make their way into the mall and carry on with their anti-social behaviour which is the primary issue. I don't think banning baseball caps etc will eradicate the real issue of yobbish behaviour.
Rohena, London

As a Brit who shops at Bluewater when visiting the UK, I can appreciate why they have taken this stance - a brave move but good for them. Maybe Bluewater, and other malls, should institute a ban of youngsters going around in groups of four or more (as they have in my local mall). When you curtail the 'gangs' it cuts out the bravado and egging on that typically happens and is a lot less threatening to other shoppers.
Paula, Virginia, USA/UK

Wearing a hat indoors is as silly as wearing a hat when driving
John Wynne, Knutsford, Cheshire
Wearing a hat indoors is as silly as wearing a hat when driving. Although I am not of the generation that was taught to take your hat off when you meet someone outdoors (not a bad thing though; it's a mark of respect), I was taught that you were supposed to take your hat off indoors (not that I wear one).
John Wynne, Knutsford, Cheshire

This "cap and hood" style may have been a street style in the beginning but it has become a convenient way of hiding a face or deliberately to appear intimidating. Even the weather does not merit wearing this kind of gear. We don't experience extreme conditions to merit wearing such garb in midsummer. Yes, they should be banned. Swearing too is grossly offensive and with the same purpose - to shock, offend and intimidate. And linked into the cap and hood is the unsightly hanging-down trousers - which too can appear just plain rude.
Sheila Maclean, London

I work for an investment bank and wear a smart suit, shirt and tie during the weekdays. However, at the weekend I like to wear comfortable clothes and my baseball cap too. Prescott and Blair should make sure that innocent people such as myself are not affected by this odd ban.
Vivek, London

In other words, Bluewater doesn't want their target shoppers - those who identify themselves as middle class - being forced to share the same area as someone they deem to be common. That's right Bluewater, why should the posh people have to see commoners? And whilst you're there, don't forget to close down every shop in the place that has ever sold any designer labels, headwear, sportswear or fast food, just in case the commoners decide they might want to buy the products in the future - oh dear, that means you would go out of business...
Jojo, South London

We don't object to nightclubs and restaurants with a dress code enforced by bouncers. What's the problem with extending this to shopping?
Simon, Southport, UK

Sounds to me a bit like picking on the young people again
Steven Allen, Highbury, London
Sounds to me a bit like picking on the young people again. Let's hope they've still got their eyes open when it ends up being the old age pensioners walking out without paying.
Steven Allen, Highbury, London

I just hope that Bluewater is not frequented by any US Navy personnel. Navy blue baseball caps emblazoned with ship names are part of the standard working uniform of American sailors. This really is ridiculous; as for us civilians, hoodies and baseball caps are part of daily casual wear for many respectable people (including this 45-year-old mother of two, who proudly wears a team cap when attending my son's ballgames).
Zoe, Warren Glen, NJ, USA

I think it's an excellent idea, if people don't like it they can vote with their feet and not shop there. However, the kids they are trying to ban, are the ones that go to these places (malls etc) because they have nothing better to do. We should encourage alternatives, for example the prices at our local leisure centre are sky high, I wouldn't pay them let alone a teenager.
Andy, Farncombe, Surrey

I think a fair few of the people who think a ban is unfair seem to be missing the point. The ban is not about restricting access to people based on what they wear. It's intended to crack down on the wearing of these articles of clothing as part of the growing thug culture. As has been said already, if you're not trying to hide your face and aren't up to no good, where's the problem?
Chris B, Cardiff, UK

No one complains when an independent small newsagent puts up a sign saying "no more than three school children at a time", even though clearly they are making the generalisation that school children in groups of four or more will be thieves. Surely Bluewater is just doing this on a bigger scale. If it is privately owned then the owner should be allowed to admit who he or she likes.
Richard Wolff, London, England

If in doubt ban something that isn't really connected to the problem you are supposed to be addressing. Brilliant! Why not instead try engaging these youngsters and their parents into the community, teaching discipline from a much younger age, for all. Enable our children to have the time and space to play and exercise. Invest adequate resources in widening the vision of our future generation, connecting them with the wider world. Oh, and play soothing classical music in shopping centres, apparently it works.
Chris, Aberystwyth, UK

Come on Britain toughen up
Jules, Mirfield, West Yorkshire
The problem isn't the clothes these kids wear it's their prevailing attitude. Our society couldn't get any softer on these kids. It's about time punishment meant punishment. Send them to boot camp, somewhere they'd never wish to visit again if you really want to see a change. As it is our legal/disciplinary system is a joke and they know it. Come on Britain toughen up, this softly, softly approach just doesn't work.
Jules, Mirfield, West Yorkshire

Totally ridiculous, another example of the government jumping on a bandwagon and focusing on issues of no great importance when there are serious issues to be dealt with. It is a consequence of living in a democracy that people can wear what they wish, the freedom of choice is a beautiful thing and no one should be able to take that away. Now people are discriminating against a pretty large group of people who choose to wear a certain type of clothing/headgear because of the actions and reputations of a minority. It's a joke.
Sarah, Edinburgh, UK

The problem is behaviour, not how they dress
Mirabelle, Aston, UK
Is it April 1st? Banning people for bad behaviour by all means - but surely not for bad dress sense! What next? - "I'm sorry, madam, but you can't shop here unless you take off some of that awful makeup" or "I'll have to ask you to leave, sir, as your cologne is not a brand we approve of"? The problem is behaviour, not how they dress. Behaviour comes from within and, except for a rare few personality disorders, it is heavily influenced by experience and observation. Our young people reflect the world they grow up in - if you don't like what you see, don't blame the mirror.
Mirabelle, Aston, UK

Is there not a famous shop in London that does not allow people in who are wearing what they judge to be inappropriate dress? I don't see that being mentioned anywhere.
Ruairi, Belfast, N.I.

Perhaps if ordinary, law-abiding people, felt empowered to tackle minor yobbishness without fear of arrest or reprisals we'd start to get somewhere. But when there's genuine nervousness that telling off someone for swearing will land you in hospital or in the clink, then no wonder it gets worse.
Lorraine, St Albans, UK

It is good to see this has caused such a reaction as it proves that there is clearly a problem. I'm 27 and I wear caps and hoodies but I also wear suits for work. Clothing is not the issue! Having been to Singapore I have seen a decent society where people show respect and the reason for this respect is through fear of the consequences of your actions. Out there you can be publicly caned for shoplifting, or indeed any other anti-social behaviour. Trust me, that would stop a high percentage of our growing yob culture. We are too soft and too tolerant now. Labour do something radical.
Nik, Broadstairs, Kent

I would treat this ban as going against my human rights
Kris Loudon, Bangor, Northern Ireland
I often wear a zipped hooded top as I find them comfortable, I will occasional wear my hood up because I like having it up, not because I'm trying to hide my face from any cameras. I would treat this ban as going against my human rights. If I want to wear a hooded top, I will, whose right is it to tell me not to?
Kris Loudon, Bangor, Northern Ireland

I have no wish to ban anyone from wearing what they like, but cannot your correspondents realise that this is an attempt by a private organisation to assist the authorities in identifying the minority of troublesome youngsters. Now if the cost of making life more tolerable for the majority of law abiding people is to lay down a simple dress code on the premises then so be it otherwise it comes down to mob rule. The craze of "happy slapping" is just a case in point. It has to stop somewhere so well done to Bluewater for at least trying to make a difference.
John, Uttoxeter, Staffs

I think this is one of the most stupid things I have ever heard, my daughter and her friends love wearing "hoodies" and have nothing to do with hooligans. what's next? Will they start banning scruffy people or fat people? I know that some groups of teens can look intimidating, but that's no reason to ban anyone just for trying to look fashionable.
Mick, Aldershot

Will Bluewater also be banning the sale of baseball caps on its premises also?
Nicholas Appleton, Birmingham UK

My brother is currently undergoing chemotherapy and has therefore lost most of his hair. He is very self-conscious out in public and wears a baseball cap for confidence. Not all wearers are yobs or involved in anti-social behaviour and I appalled at this ban!
Gill , London

As a retailer, yes, I do think they should be banned, it is intimidating and an unnecessary accessory in an air conditioned mall. Shopping centres should be seen to be a safe family environment.
Susan Cowling, Rochester Kent

Some people who have made comments here may be shocked to learn that that once great British institution - Harrods, discriminates against bare-chested men by barring entry and has done for a long time.
Kiran, London

So baseball caps and hoodies are banned because they intimidate people. Are the shops in Bluewater going to ban selling such attire then? I think what they mean is ban people from wearing the hoods of their hoodies and asking them to remove baseball caps for security reasons - not that you can't wear a hoodie with the hood down and hold your baseball cap by your side or wear it back to front.
Ken, London, England

I don't see why baseball style caps should be banned. It's not the caps that are the problem, just the wearer. Also, a friend of mine wears a baseball cap every time he is out, the reason is he has cancer and total hair loss, so wears a cap to 'hide his baldness'. Banning him wearing a cap would cause untold embarrassment for him.
Colin B, London, UK

I can understand why they have done this. There was a similar furore in my youth against lads with short hair, short jeans a big boots. However, then as now, the problem is more to do with the person wearing the clothes than the clothes they wear. Perhaps we should ask ourselves why these youths tend to congregate there have they really nothing better to do? Back this up with removing the real trouble-makers and then maybe we might get somewhere.
Ged, Liverpool

I am all for the control on antisocial behaviour. However, in my opinion the ban seems to be short sighted and not well thought out. If these people are creating a nuisance for kicks, what stops them from taking off their caps and hoods and going about their routine in the same complexes? Labelling a style of dressing as antisocial is wrong.
V Varma, Leeds, UK

Absolutely, caps and hoodies are used specifically by shoplifters and vandals to help mask their identity on CCTV. Retailers have the right to protect themselves. If I walked down the road wearing a balaclava mask I'm sure the police, quite rightly, would stop me, so what's the difference?
Stuart Jebbitt, Bournemouth, Dorset

Yeah, next they'll be banning people from wearing trainers in public to prevent street crime because you can run away faster in trainers. Hey, and while we're at it, why not ban large coats because they are too easy to hide products people steal from shops under!
Steven, Nelson

Decorum states that one should remove ones hat when inside a building. Surely Bluewater is merely enforcing this social rule.
Lenny P, Guildford

Hoodies and caps can obscure faces for CCTV purposes and might make it easier to beat a shoplifting or other charge
Simon T, Leigh-on-Sea, UK
There is a reason for this particular ban - hoodies and caps can obscure faces for CCTV purposes and might make it easier to beat a shoplifting or other charge. Here in Essex, many of the local pubs stringently enforce such a ban. Recently, I, a 42-year-old fart, was made to remove my trilby on entering a pub. Seems excessive, but not without an underlying purpose.
Simon T, Leigh-on-Sea, UK

Can't we just ban baseball caps altogether as a crime against fashion? Lazy kids just wear them to ape Americans, they should try and put some thought into developing their own identities.
Darren, Derby

So Prescott speaks out. A man who believes the way to solve congestion is to take away an entire lane on the M4, paint it red and give it to the odd empty bus to travel up and down. This is the man who throws punches when an egg lands on him. This is the man who displays unsociable behaviour through his ignorance and actions, so can we now ban large suits and Jaguar cars now?
Nat, London, UK

What Margaret Thatcher did for selfishness, Tony Blair is doing for snobbery. The targets here are the young and inarticulate. Those who find this offensive should shop somewhere else. No doubt those of a sensitive disposition will be delighted.
David Anderson, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

I agree with the ban, alas during my visit last night I noticed baseball caps a plenty. This included a group of 7 or so teens all wearing one. With all this media coverage and fuss shouldn't Bluewater be acting now?
Wayne, Bexley, UK

I wear a black hooded top under a black denim jacket, jeans and ex-army boots. Does this make me threatening? I also happen to be a pacifist but I would be banned from this mall, why?
Pete, Amsterdam , ex-UK

If the basic rights of people are diminished in such a way as to be dictated in what we wear, are we not entering the realms of Chairman Mao and if so, when will my 'Red Book' arrive in the post. I think it would be more appropriate for these large retail complexes to be banned in the hope of regeneration for our inner city shops.
Steve Dyer, Cardiff. Wales

I'm completely in support. If the law doesn't allow the police to do something about the yob culture then why shouldn't a private shopping centre enforce rules to protect its customers and its reputation?
Sarah Vine, Kent

So can I wear a balaclava and floor-length leather jacket then? Ridiculous.
Ashley, Bromley, Kent

I work in a college and we do not allow any caps, hoods, or baseball caps in the college; we actually ask the students to take off their caps. I agree it is very intimidating for other people around them.
Fiona Garside, Watford Hertfordshire

It seems that Mr Prescott is attacking anyone wearing comfortable clothing
Will, Norwich, UK
I think who Mr Prescott and co are referring to are chavs. They are a common problem, and are known to intimidate others in 'packs'. However, it is not only this social group that wear this particular attire, and therefore it seems that Mr Prescott is attacking anyone wearing comfortable clothing, not anti-social behaviour.
Will, Norwich, UK

So is this going to reduce crime? No it will not. Blair and Prescott should do something about anti-social behaviour - we need a strict curfew in the evenings. 3 times I have had to call the police due to kids as young as 13 being out causing trouble in my street at 2 in the morning. Sort it out.
David Smith, UK

Instead of a ban, photos should be taken of them which should then be shown to them, their family and friends and workmates when they are a few years older. The embarrassment of looking like such a clown should be sufficient to stop these kids wearing hooded tops and baseball caps.
TB, Spain

I think Bluewater have done the right thing. But I don't think that the reasoning makes one important thing clear. Not all teens are yobs. I am 17. I don't wear baseball caps. I never use the hood on a hooded top if I ever wear one. There are many more like me. Please do not assume ALL teenagers are foul-mouthed yobs with caps and hoodies. We aren't.
Chris, Gillingham, Kent, UK

Marginalising people further will only lead to more problems
Ian, Maidenhead, UK
It's very dangerous and worrying to see this "them and us" attitude between young and old developing in this way. What we need is to reach out to young people, smile at them and make them feel included. Marginalising people further will only lead to more problems. Sadly just a symptom of this ridiculous "more police, more laws" culture that the media is breeding through spreading fear.
Ian, Maidenhead, UK

Unfortunately society has made us feel this way. I was a shop worker working in the evenings and had a run in with a youth on numerous occasions. He too wore a cap and hooded top. This has now caused me to be very wary of people dressed like them. People might think that I should not tar all with the same brush but I can't help the way I feel. People who hide under hats etc have something to hide.
Nikki, Swansea

People should remember that this is a private business which hosts various other businesses, not a public building. If you don't like their rules - get out and find somewhere else to shop. What are people doing wearing a cap or hood inside anyway? Incidentally, the place sounds great - shopping free of harassment from leafleters, from canvassers, and free of smoke.
Darryl LeCount, Paderborn, Germany

It's a worrying thing when so many adults that should know better, embrace such a useless liberty restricting enforcement. This move is nothing more than a thoughtless knee-jerk reaction to a problem. And I know I would feel far more intimidated entering a mall that restricts my freedom by telling me what I can and cannot wear rather than entering a mall where there may possibly be people wearing baseball caps or hoodies.
James, UK

I'm sure that the law-abiding, respectful teenagers will have no problem with this ban
A, Leeds, UK

If people don't like the clothing arrangements, then don't attend! I don't see people complaining about nightclubs with their strict dress codes. You try getting into a nightclub wearing a baseball cap or a hoodie! Unfortunately an ever-increasing number of youths are becoming evermore disrespectful in public places. The spitting, swearing, ganging, and intimidation needs to stop, and people need to feel comfortable. I'm sure that the law-abiding, respectful teenagers will have no problem with this ban whatsoever.
A, Leeds, UK

These young people have grown up with no visible police presence in there lives and been able to do as they please to who ever they please without question for as long as they remember - they are in charge and what's worse is they know it! Only a couple of weeks ago threatened by a 14 year old boy - who in his own words "had no need to afraid of the police...what can they do to me?".. Caps and hoodies don't make an anti social person - police on the beat giving the antisocial youth something to be afraid of is the answer. If there are no consequences to a person's actions then they'll do just what they like - it's that simple.
Neil, Sheffield

It's appalling to discriminate against people because of the clothes they wear, this will have absolutely no effect on the anti-social behaviour of the people in question. Will we see suits banned next as a result of a gang of credit card fraudsters operating in the Midlands. Legislation already exists which would allow dealing with the anti-social behaviour, why not use it.
Sean, West Midlands

Well done, Bluewater. These are private premises and so the owners have a perfect right to consider their profit margins. Having been subjected to random abuse (about baldness) in public places by similarly clad individuals who are hard to identify and fleet of foot, I welcome the initiative, especially if it sends the message to these youngsters that their behaviour is unacceptable and will deny them access to places they would wish to go.
Chris Williams, Lincolnshire

Yes, the social climate where yobs behave with impunity is reinforced by the anonymity provided by amongst other things hoods, I am by instinct a liberal minded person but am sickened by the loss freedom from fear of ordinary citizens. Social cohesion is achieved by a balance of tolerance and mutual respect. That respect is woefully missing and therefore it is time for a little less tolerance
Graham, Blackpool England

While you're at it why not ban unlaced shoes, dirty fingernails, moody expressions and acne
Clive, Milwaukee, USA/UK
While you're at it why not ban unlaced shoes, dirty fingernails, moody expressions and acne. Possibly even high heels due to the damage to the floors. This ban is utter tosh. As though it is possible to judge antisocial intent by fashionable dress. Maybe only people using polite language should be invited to Malls. Oh for a job as a "foul language monitor" in a UK Mall. I can see people lining up for that job. Is it OK for a TV shop in a Mall to be showing a program where swearing is happening but not to allow the customers to use the same language? Treat teenagers (and others) with some respect, remove stereotyping and prejudice or reap the consequences.
Clive, Milwaukee, USA/UK

Clive, Milwaukee, USA/UK - the problem is that respect is a two-way thing. You can only treat people with respect if they are capable of returning the gesture. Unfortunately a large minority of today's youth seem incapable of respect at all.
Nik, Bristol, UK

I think this is a move in the right direction and getting lost in the 'I'll wear what I damn well please" argument is only hiding from the real issue which is anti social behaviour. It is this type of aggressive attitude that this Centre is trying to reduce. My visits to the UK involve feeling unsafe and intimidated whereas here in HK (where ID Cards are normal) it is safe for me and my children to go about our business in peace.
Ms Croft, Hong Kong

The hooded top and baseball cap is intended to look menacing even if the wearer isn't really
Jenny, Bedfordshire, UK
I find groups of youths with baseball caps and hoods up very intimidating. It may be that they are not at all but a to walk through a group of them is very scary. You can't see their faces and it feels very threatening. I'm afraid I've come to associate this 'uniform' with unsavoury, antisocial behaviour whether it's deserved or not. While young people have a right to dress as they wish so do other people have the right to feel safe when they go out and about. The hooded top and baseball cap is intended to look menacing even if the wearer isn't really.
Jenny, Bedfordshire, UK

So they really think that that banning certain attire will prevent anti-social behaviour? Anti-social behaviour is committed by people, not baseball caps, and any yobs who set out to cause trouble will just remove their baseball caps before entering the shopping centre. Yobs will be yobs whatever they are wearing. A zero-tolerance approach towards anti-social behaviour, not certain attire, would be far more effectual.
Helen, Reading

Good idea. People always feel uncomfortable with people hiding their faces when there is no good reason for it. Outside in the rain it's not a problem to wear a hood, but inside it can only mean that for some reason they don't want to be recognised. And don't we all have or have had the experience that it's easier to do something bad when others can't see us?
Anna, UK

Will the miscreant youth of Kent now opt for bowler hats and false eyelashes to disguise their identity? Perhaps Anthony Burgess was more prescient than we realised.
Nicholas Barr, Thames Ditton

Mass paranoia or what? Do you know they used to burn rock 'n' Roll records in America in the 1950s because they thought it made thugs out of their teenagers? Many adults loved this music for what it was; fun, good-time music. Were smart suits and fedora hats banned in the 20s and 30s because John Dillinger and Al Capone wore them?
I am 44 years old and love wearing baseball caps. Get a life people, target those with bad behaviour by having security people on hand to challenge these thugs instead of hiding in a control room with zillions of cameras watching our every move.
Gordon, Oldham, Lancs. UK

If the behaviour is so bad perhaps a police presence in the shopping mall might be a good idea
Glenn, Sussex
This is total madness. If the behaviour is so bad perhaps a police presence in the shopping mall might be a good idea. I presume the shops in the mall selling these articles of clothing will have warning messages on them telling people not to wear them until they get home!
Glenn, Sussex

Banning people based on their attire sets a dangerous precedent, as an infringement of personal freedom. The only cases where this is justifiable is if the person is dressed indecently (e.g. a streaker), or if they wear an item such as a T-shirt bearing a racist or otherwise offensive message (and I've seen plenty of those).
H, London, England

Like many places, Bluewater has simply introduced a dress code. These measures don't usually come with qualification - I've been refused entry to bars for wearing flip flops; and my local ice rink doesn't allow hats or scarves. How difficult is it to remove a baseball cap? Not hard. Some shops, and many museums, don't allow you to carry large shoulder bags on your shoulder (which I personally find irritating, as I subscribe to the Mary Poppins school of accessorizing. But I can see the point, and I deal with it). The world is full of dress codes. Get over it.
A, Oxford, UK

The correct decision has been made
Anonymous, Kent
I have seen such individuals in Bluewater myself and believe the correct decision has been made. Bluewater is a family environment and I hate hearing the foul language I do hear from groups of teenagers especially around young children. When I visited the cinema at Bluewater a group of youths in baseball caps and 'hoodies' came into the cinema shouting and swearing. When asked to leave they became aggressive and didn't stop the swearing. This type of behaviour cannot be tolerated but unfortunately in the North of Kent I see it every day. Well done, Bluewater!
Anonymous, Kent

NO. Clothing should not be banned. Anti-social behaviour should. Focus on the person and their behaviour not the attire.
MK, Glasgow

I learned a long time ago that there are far more criminals wearing suits than there are walking around in baseball caps. The suited crooks are more suave and debonair, but these are the people that work on the edges and within the loopholes of our ridiculous laws and rip off the people who can least afford it.
Chris, Telford, UK

If I visit Bluewater, it is as a customer. Remember those? The people who pay your wages and keep you all in jobs? I will therefore wear whatever I damn well please.
Jeremy, England

When one enters into private property, they agree to abide by the rules of the owner of said property; this is true no matter if one is a guest in a friend's home or shopping in a mall. Given that the owner of the mall is providing the public access to their property in order to shop, is it that unreasonable that the owners of this property are allowed to set rules governing conduct? If an individual finds the rules too restrictive, they have the choice to simply avoid the location. However, in this case I believe that the Bluewater complex will see increased business as a result of its more "secure" image.
Karl, College Park, Maryland, USA

Could we instead have a ban on anyone who "feels intimidated" solely on the basis of another's clothing. Just because someone wears something doesn't make them a thug. Why not ban hard looking men with short hair? I'm sure some find them intimidating as well.
Martin G, Nottingham, UK

A sensible idea. Just as banks and post offices have banned crash-helmets, shops with CCTV should ban headgear. How long will it be before religious extremists start to play the god card and get it overturned.
David, Cornwall, UK

Can we also ban car drivers from wearing trilby hats?
Martin, Northern England

Unacceptable and discriminating
Thom Brown, Crawley, UK
Judging people entirely by what they wear is unacceptable and discriminating. People should be assessed by their actions, not stereotypes.
Thom Brown, Crawley, UK

I see a society in very deep trouble if they must ban caps and hoods to feel safe.
Bob, Pittsburgh USA

Personally I'd ban shopping malls....
John Webster, Aylesbury, England

Are they going to ban raincoats, since they have hoods? Granted, most trouble I've had appears to be by baseball cap wearing kids, but I don't tar everyone with the same brush. What a dumb idea.
Gareth, Cardiff

Just give them a clip round the ear!
Jenny, Cambridge, UK

Well done to Bluewater, often we have seen CCTV footage on TV with a suspected criminal wearing either baseball cap or hood. The ban should be extended to all indoor public shared spaces (schools, subways etc), and those areas prone to loitering. If you're not up to no good, why hide your face?
John Corry, London, UK

The cap is not the offender. Well done little Englanders, another step forward
PJG, Glasgow/NYC
I honestly can't believe so many people have written in support of this 'ban'. I imagine many of these supporting the ban would feel intimidated by a group of youths whether or not they were wearing the now outlawed garments. The cap is not the offender. Well done little Englanders, another step forward.
PJG, Glasgow/NYC

I also say well done Bluewater. The hood over the cap is an attitude on display as well as a dress sense problem. If people do not like it then there are other places to shop, while the rest of us can feel more comfortable.
Tony, Hackney, London.

A ban on certain types of clothing seems a bit much. If these anti-social yobs were treated with a heavy hand in the first place then this type of ban would not be necessary. This is the natural end result of years of a ridiculous left-liberal softly, softly attitude to poor behaviour.
Derek S, UK

An interesting range of views. It seems to me that many people do find hoods and caps intimidating with good reason, given the behaviour of a small minority. Asking young people not to behave in such a way on private property doesn't seem unreasonable to me.
John Nolan, Borehamwood, Herts, UK

As someone who has been a victim of an unprovoked attack by youths in such attire, I thoroughly support the initiative. I was unable to ID my attackers because of their obscured features and unoriginal "hoodie" uniform; and this is exactly why they do it. Banning the attire isn't the answer though; more police is what Britain needs.
Luke Dawson, Ohio, USA (ex-UK)

Kids unfortunately have nowhere better to go than a shopping centre
Penny, Kent
Anything that could be done to deter kids from just hanging around at Bluewater should be done. You can now barely move at Bluewater for people not actually shopping. I'm sure clothing doesn't guarantee a certain type of behaviour, but while people have the perception that it does, the genuine shoppers will stay away. The other issue is that kids unfortunately have nowhere better to go than a shopping centre, this should be addressed too.
Penny, Kent

Reasonably good idea, the mall would be a more pleasant place to shop it, but think of it from a business point of view; this means that shopkeepers will loose out on thousands of pounds, due to people being unsatisfied with this rule.
John Sinclair, Portsmouth, UK

What exactly is this going to solve? So gangs simply doff caps and hoodies and continue to terrorise. Well done. Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. Well, at least we now know what they are - Baseball caps.
Anon, UK

I agree. As age comes upon you - I'm now in my mid 30's. I would act first and ask questions later if I felt threatened by groups or individuals alike. There is no room for such dress or ideals such as these.
R. Birkenhead, St Neots Cambridgeshire

I think some people are missing the point here. This ban is everything to do with the ability to recognise faces on CCTV footage. Cap's and hoods hide faces, those intent on any sort of crime will, no doubt, wish to conceal their identity, hence the hoods and caps. The ban is intended to make people recognisable, if you are not intent on crime you have nothing to fear, simple really.
Terry, Epsom, Surrey, England

I think it's a great idea! These yobs dress like this just to intimidate people. While Bluewater is at it, can they go around and pull the trousers of the teenagers up please? Obviously none of them have mirrors in their homes as they go out looking that ridiculous!
Brian, London, UK

Why would anyone want to hide their face?
Andy, Manchester, England
I'm not sure about the ban on baseball caps, but I find youngsters hiding their faces deep inside large hoods very menacing. Why would anyone want to hide their face, unless they were up to no good? I'm not normally a supporter of bans, but this one sounds sensible.
Andy, Manchester, England

Oh c'mon ban tee-shirts worn with leggings and a scrunchie first.
Gerry, Scotland

I have no objections to cracking down on anti-social behaviour. But as an 'older' member of society, I wonder whether my old cap would pass muster?
Bill Stitt, Edinburgh, Lothian

Like it or not, shopping malls are private buildings and the owners can do as they please when it comes to admission. Anyone who admits members of the public can (and frequently does) have dress codes - why should shopping malls be any different?
Dominic Tristram, Bath, UK

Go for it, Bluewater - if only more town centres and councils were prepared to take a hard line on anti-social behaviour then England would be a much nicer place to be.
Martin, Farnborough, UK

Bravo Bluewater! The silent majority are heartily fed up of teenagers walking round all 'thugged up' in their hooded tops and baseball caps. They are mostly a walking joke but some find them intimidating and why should they have to put up with it? Bluewater will now be my preferred shopping centre for me and my family.
Adrian M. Lee, Saffron Walden, England

Excellent, but not far enough. Generally unsightly people should be banned from all public places. This includes anyone caught with any of the following: tracksuits, poorly matched clothes, bling, bad hair (read perms, straw-like, mullet etc), sandals and white socks, plastic rain hoods, trousers tucked into socks and any item of golf wear!
Rich, Coventry, UK

I don't know how effective this will be, but I can't see how it can do any harm to trial this idea. At least something is being done to prevent people feeling intimidated in a public place. I don't wear baseball bats or hooded tops but if I did, I wouldn't mind discarding them if they made people feel threatened.
Si Hunt, Sawbridgeworth, UK

Shoppers need to feel comfortable within their social environment
Stuart B, Essex, England
In the same way that various reputable establishments throughout the world enforce particular dress-codes, I see no problem with Bluewater issuing one too. Shoppers need to feel comfortable within their social environment, and if certain individuals feel intimidated by others then they will simply stay away from Bluewater. The shopping centre is fully within its rights to issue a dress-code in the same way that a nightclub would. They own the building - they make the rules. Simple as that. I commend them and hope it sets a precedent for other stores so that decent people can shop in peace without feeling intimidated by pond life.
Stuart B, Essex, England

As a manager of a bank who enjoys wearing hoodies to keep me warm, a baseball cap as a fashion accessory because I like hip hop and basketball, I resent the fact that I'm being a labelled a thug. People should look at the positives from the hip hop culture such as its ability to transcend race. Stop anti-social behaviour...fine, but don't see gangstas in a fashion. When it's hot and I wear shorts and a basketball vest, will my tattoos be viewed as offensive too (they're not by the way!) or will I be asked to put a longer top on without a hood?
Rob, Slough

Bluewater is a private complex and they have a right to make the majority of shoppers feel comfortable. If a few youngsters can't get in because they won't wear anything else then tough!!! I'm sorry but in warm weather indoors, why would you want to cover up your face?
Peter Wilkinson, Bucks

As a grumpy old man, I often wear a baseball cap myself, and don't find them particularly threatening. I must admit, though, that I do steer clear of those wearing muggers' hoods, "hoodies" as I believe they are imaginatively called by the "yoof".
John Rogers, Bristol, England

At long last, I know so many people that are terrified at going through shopping/town centres because of the perceived threat that not being able to have clear eye contact gives. The hoods have meant they don't feel they can judge threat levels as clearly.
Bill, London

If unruly teens are lowering the tone of public places, ban the hats
Dale, Ottawa, Canada
As a former high school teacher, I agree with the ban. Teenage males wearing baseball caps exhibit more attitude. To them, caps are a form of shield against recognition and a badge for bravado. If unruly teens are lowering the tone of public places, ban the hats.
Dale, Ottawa, Canada

Would never fly in the US. If they have the resources to enforce a "no hat/hood" policy then it seems to me they have the resources to prohibit loitering which sounds like the real problem. As a land surveyor I wear a baseball cap and hooded sweatshirt frequently on and off the job. Interesting how a professional here would be considered a hoodlum in the UK simply by his dress.
John Kline, Kentucky, USA

Judging people on what they wear is absolutely ludicrous. Everyone has the right to wear what he or she wants when they want. There is a worrying tread in this country recently, where anything associated, however loosely, with a problem is banned. It's ridiculous how paranoid people are about the most inane things. My sixty-five year old dad has a hooded jumper and two or three baseball caps. Will he be thrown out of Bluewater? I can't wait to see groups of young people hanging around in flat caps (the correct way around) and knitted jumpers.
Chris, Brighton, Sussex

A bit of common sense needs to be taken
Trevor, Kent
This is yet another place to introduce such things. Folkestone town centre have had such a ban in place for the last few years. The fact that 'baseball caps' are banned causes me some problems when entering shops with my young daughter. On the one hand we are told that we should protect ourselves from the sun by wearing hats and other clothing. Now the businesses refuse to let me in if I take such pre-cautions. I think a bit of common sense needs to be taken, rather than 'zero tolerance'.
Trevor, Kent

I am a young American university student and I am frankly appalled at this decision. I have always looked to England as an example for how my own country should act. But in this case I am proud to walk down the street wearing a cap if I so choose. Most of the time that I wear my cap it is not for style or to be anti-social, it is usually because I am having a bad hair day and would rather not broadcast my dishevelled hair to the public around me.
Casey, Los Angeles, USA

This idea is so ridiculous. Does Bluewater think that removing a baseball cap is going to be a catalyst to a magical and socially acceptable transformation?? I think someone there has been watching too much Superman if they think that an item of clothing is going to allow them to identify someone's personality!!
Dwynwen, Inverness, Scotland

This is just another typical example of the privatisation of British society and space. Intolerance of this sort is exactly the sort of thing that results from ignorance and subscribing to the 'fear' culture that the tabloids/media encourage. As usual, we concentrate on the problem rather than the cause ... the growth of impersonal, controlled spaces like malls; reliance on private cars for the school run; lack of any real leisure facilities - is it any wonder that kids just want to hang around with their mates any place that they can?
Ed, Sheffield, UK

If you don't agree with the ban then take your money elsewhere
Kit, Edinburgh, Scotland
I've been asked to remove my hat on entering pubs on many occasions, as it's a security problem. If you've got nothing to hide (apart from a bad hair day!) then what's the issue? If you don't agree with the ban then take your money elsewhere.
Kit, Edinburgh, Scotland

What next? Are you too small, tall, fat or thin to shop in the mall? Are you suitably fashionable or wearing the right label?
Fran, West Yorkshire

Brits can survive the Blitz but find hoods intimidating? Come on!
B Haley, Edinburgh, UK

I am a man of Kent, in his 50s, who has lived in the US for 18 years now. I am old enough to remember being intimidated by louts masquerading as 'Mods' when I was a teenager in Whitstable and being refused service in a pub when I was at university in Loughborough just because I had a Barbour motorcycle jacket on. It seems some things don't change, only the clothing styles that people consider intimidating or indicative that the person wearing them must be a trouble maker just because that's what they are wearing. Fashions change, ban baseball caps and it will be something else. How about being a little more constructive and try to provide some things for these kids to get involved with so they don't have to hang around shopping malls for entertainment?
Graham Ruck, Canaan, CT, USA

I think this ruling is utterly ridiculous
Jonathan Mushlin, Montclair, USA
I am a British person living in the US. Many American people wear baseball caps both to work and recreationally. Baseball is the American "National Pastime". I think this ruling is utterly ridiculous and risks offending unsuspecting American tourists on a shopping spree. It shows a complete lack of tolerance for a sartorial style, which, whilst not my own, is not intrinsically offensive. Denial of such a basic freedom makes me ashamed to be British.
Jonathan Mushlin, Montclair, USA

Jonathan from Montclair, USA - I don't know if you've looked at the rules in your local mall recently but all the ones in my area (DFW, Texas) are significantly tighter on unaccompanied children than this. Also, I'm sure that "risks (of) offending unsuspecting American tourists on a shopping spree" are utmost in the minds of the shopping centre management, it being a major problem in Kent. It's a private building, not a public place and nobody is forced to go there. Any blame lies with those that cause the problems. If someone insists on wearing those clothes they are free to go somewhere else.
Matt, Fort Worth, Texas, USA (1.5 miles from a large mall)

Why should all youths with caps be discriminated against? My 11 year old daughter is bald due to chemotherapy to treat her leukaemia. She does not wear a baseball cap when she goes shopping to obscure facial recognition from CCTV. She just wants to fit in with the way many youngsters look.
Sarah G, Kent, England

At last!!! It is now time to stop anti-social behaviour at all levels. I think this is an excellent idea and should be adopted by all shopping centre and even individual shops and fast food outlets. It is very intimidating as a shopper when you are surrounded by large numbers of youths wearing a "uniform" and not knowing if they are carrying knives or even a gun! Their behaviour is now becoming very unacceptable to the majority of the public and this is a step in the right direction.
Christine Hopkins, Christchurch, Dorset

About time something was done to stop this frightening trend. Groups of lads wearing hoods on a warm day look very threatening. Walking to the car park with my wife at Bluewater recently was a bit harrowing. Lads dressed in hoods calling out to us as we went to our car upset my wife badly and we have not been back since.
Colin Mallery, Broadstairs, Kent

Well done Kent!
Paul, Belfast, UK
I wholeheartedly agree with this. I wished that Belfast shopping malls had the same thing introduced as it's often the case that there are a bunch of hooded chavs lurking about the shop entrances and that's enough to put you off going into that shop. Well done Kent!
Paul, Belfast, UK

I think this is an absolutely brilliant idea. I, for one, find the hooded tops quite intimidating. Well done for standing firm.
Valerie Knight, Orpington, Kent

A typically British solution. Instead of looking at the wider issue of providing low-cost entertainment for young people, it's decided just to ban kids who wear caps and hooded tops. How is going to be enforced? What about young children wearing caps whilst with their parents? What if you buy and wear a hooded top from one of the shops in the mall?
Rupert Jones, Cardiff, UK

Yes! Let's see it in every mall across the country.
Eddie, Birmingham

Does this mean that the clothes/sports shops in the shopping centre will not be selling the offending articles (baseball caps and hooded tops) then??????
Frank J Hill, Tel Aviv, Israel

Why not just ban everybody under 50?
Paul Craig, Halesowen, West Midlands
Banning baseball caps is the "Old people's" response to any situation. Fair enough a lot of trouble makers wear caps, but the majority of cap wearers are peaceful people. If this is the steps you are taking them why not just ban trainers and jeans etc.... In fact why not just ban everybody under 50 to ensure "zero tolerance" is maintained.
Paul Craig, Halesowen, West Midlands

Great idea - why can't these ridiculous baseball caps be banned everywhere? They are absolutely awful items of clothing. If you must wear a hat get a panama!
Pat Mcentee, Brentwood, Essex

I can see why this ban has been put into place but both of my sons wear hooded tops and baseball caps and neither has ever been in trouble at school, with shops or with the police. Both are high achievers and are really good lads. My eldest son is the treasurer of a local youth group and my younger son plays 2 musical instruments and gets top grades. I do resent the fact that my sons, because of the clothes they wear, are now being pigeon holed as likely to act in an anti social way. The fashion police really do exist!
Alison, MK, UK

No problem with banning hoodies, but it is a minor issue compared with banning leafleting and canvassing. The traditional high street is a public place open to everyone. Malls are legally private buildings which masquerade as public spaces. Could the sweat shop campaigns of the nineties have been successful if they were not allowed to demonstrate outside shops?
Will, London, UK

Prescott backing hooded tops ban
12 May 05 |  UK Politics


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