Criminalisation of our youngsters

SIR - Police target town centre menaces. This attitude of criminalisation of the youth is increasingly alarming and worrying. In an age of no ball game signs, no support for hobbies or options for entertainment is it no wonder that our youth are increasin

SIR - Police target town centre menaces. This attitude of criminalisation of the youth is increasingly alarming and worrying.

In an age of no ball game signs, no support for hobbies or options for entertainment is it no wonder that our youth are increasingly becoming more anti-social? Where in Stevenage can our youth go for entertainment? There are an increasingly large number of pubs and bars and restaurants opening along with shops and other places where entertainment costs money that a lot of families cannot afford, and more so are age restricted.

Over these last 25 years we have lost a bowling alley, an ice rink, an excellent venue/skatepark (Bowes Lyon House) and video rental stores. Any green space big enough to play football on is turned to housing and any too small is gifted with the aforementioned 'no ball games' sign. The clear message to youths seems to be stay out of the way and do not make any noise or trouble, stay home, play on the computer and wait until you can go drinking (and the drinking and drug culture of Stevenage is far worse than any menace from cyclists or skateboarders). We must be careful lest we marginalise our youth further and bring up a generation of children that are obese or become alcoholics. Instead of condemning youths we should be encouraging them and supporting them; or is the bottom line from the council this - entertaining children does not make a big enough profit?

PAUL


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