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Page last updated at 08:38 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2008 09:38 UK
Cornish teen curfew 'is working'
By Charlotte Ashton
BBC Switch presenter in Redruth

Group of teenagers

Police in Cornwall say a voluntary curfew introduced in Redruth seems to be working with officers saying the first night of the scheme passed off peacefully.

It was set up in the north Cornwall town because teenagers there have been drinking, shouting and fighting too much.

Some locals from Close Hill, the main council estate in Redruth, say they feel so threatened that sometimes they're scared to leave the house.

Me and my friends are law-abiding citizens, but we're being blamed and hampered in our social lives
Gus, 17, from Redruth
Police say the scheme is voluntary.

They are asking parents to take control of their kids and make sure under-10s are in by 8pm and under-16s are home by 10pm.

Julian Commons from the West Cornwall anti-social behaviour unit says it's not a restraint on freedom.

He said: "There isn't any impact on their human rights as we are saying it is voluntary.

"But also, what we are saying is that a small number of individuals affect the majority of people and what about their human rights as well to enjoy the peace of their own homes?"

However, 15-year-old Leanne, who lives nearby, says she thinks the new rule is unfair to all her mates who don't break the law and behave when they're out.

"They smash fences, stay out until 4am shouting and just cause havoc really. The curfew's a stupid idea. It won't work," she says.

Local support

Gus, 17, agrees that the curfew is unfair.

"Me and my friends are law-abiding citizens, but we're being blamed and hampered in our social lives," he says.

Pippa, 17, thinks the curfew should be extended to the over-20s.

"At night you've got the older ones out drinking and shouting. It's not just us lot," she says.

Children and policeman in Redruth
PC Marc Griffin speaks to teenagers on the Close Hill estate
This isn't the first time there's been a curfew in Close Hill.

In 2007 there a dispersal order was put in place during Halloween which gave police the legal right to send home under-16s who were out without an adult after 9pm.

This time the curfew is voluntary, which means police can't make teenagers go home.

However, they will be paying their parents a visit to find out if they know where their kids are and what they're getting up to. The curfew has plenty of support from locals, who say it worked last year.

Some parents are sceptical a voluntary curfew will make any difference.

One mum said the problem is bad parenting.

"You can go knock on the door and do whatever you want but nothing happens. I guarantee not one [teenager] will be in by 9pm.

"The park will be full because the parents just don't care. And besides it's Friday night so most of the [parents] will be out on the town anyway."



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