Wednesday 1 February 2012

Protecting Anti-Social Behaviour

Teresa May's 'community trigger' has been bothering me for the past couple of days.
The government is promising to set up five pilot schemes this summer, which will force the authorities to act if people in five separate households complain about a neighbour causing problems, such as noise or threatening behaviour.
Simply put, it seems that the Police are being absolved of the responsibility to investigate after receiving just the one complaint.

Rather different, then, to areas where activities which are wholesome, enjoyable, or life-enhancing seem to require only one complaint to have non anti-social activity stopped, such as expressions of affection.
The message on the bulletin board headed ‘Speaking to Customers’ said: “Please can drivers be aware that some of our customers may take offence at having terms such as ‘love’, ‘darling’ and ‘babe’ directed towards them.

“This can be seen by some as being a sexist comment, as a recent complaint has highlighted.”
It was also a lone complainant who had the Police scrambling to arrest an entertainer singing 1970s chart hit Kung Fu Fighting.
The incident had involved a 32-year-old man who apparently took offence as he walked past the bar during Mr Ledger's performance.

Hampshire Police said Mr Ledger was questioned on suspicion of causing harassment, alarm or distress, but released because there was not enough evidence to prove a criminal offence had been committed.
A single anonymous sad sack who enforced the removal of a lollipop man's Christmas tinsel.
Pupils at Berrywood Primary School in Hedge End, near Southampton, sobbed when the decoration was taken off Kevin Simpson's placard after council officials banned it.

An anonymous passer-by had complained the decoration might obscure the sign.
Just one complaint was enough to ban a children's trampoline from a shared garden.
A spokesman for London and Quadrant, the housing association, said that it had contacted Mr Nice about his trampoline after receiving a complaint from one of his neighbours, but denied that risk of burglary was a factor.

"The trampoline is in a communal area on our land and our only concern was that when it is left unattended other children could use it and may hurt themselves," he said.
And just one person was required to object to Mothers looking after each other's children for the practice to be deemed unlawful.
Two working mothers have been banned from looking after each other's toddlers because they are not registered childminders.

The close friends' private arrangement had let them both return to part-time jobs at the same company.

However, a whistleblower reported them to the education watchdog Ofsted and it found their informal deal broke the law.
Now, these are merely articles I have written about on this blog in the past or - in the bus company case - tweeted recently. I'm sure you could find hundreds of other examples yourself without too much searching.

So what we can take from the situation is that if you are a law-abiding citizen, just one complaint is fine for there to be an investigation and censure. The complainant is even allowed to have their identity protected.

If, however, you are an irritating little scrote, it will take five complainants, from five different - identifiable - addresses, before the Police will be required, under Teresa May's shiny new initiative, to lift a finger of help.

I'd be more impressed if May had instructed public bodies to abide by a trigger of five complaints against ordinary people going about their daily lives in a decent manner (which is arguably another form of anti-social behaviour anyway), while instructing the Police to go after anti-social or criminal behaviour the very first time it is flagged up.

But then, when did politicians ever recognise what is truly important to the public? They've spent the past 20 or 30 years trying their hardest not to listen to us, after all.

Or is it just that law-abiding folk are far easier to bully than anti-social neds and their hulking pit bull, Satan?


Gary K. said...

We have followed Alice thru the looking glass into a mad,mad world.
Gary K.

John Linford said...

Hang on, I'm confused by your last example. Ofsted don't have the power to decide if something is legal - that's up the judiciary. Ofsted may have power to prosecute, but they don't decide. Unless we're really fucked.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I seem to remember this was the case that kicked off the furore over the ISA (

Ofsted were doubtless just looking after fellow taxpayer-funded colleagues ;)

non sum dignus said...

Nothing new,5 or more residents registering  a
complaint about an undesirable neighbour.
The Third Reich perfected the scheme in the 1930's especially if the
"undesirables "were Gypsies ,Jews,Homosexuals or smokers.
Glad I am not an under 60,I never fancied the Orwellian nightmare
that awaits the unaware young.
Maybe ,they deserve the X Box ,Facebook and Asda on Saturdays
with just the hope compulsory euthanasia becomes available on the NHS
offering escape from a grey existence. 

James said...

The message on the bulletin board headed ‘Speaking to Customers’ said: “Please can drivers be aware that some of our customers may take offence at having terms such as ‘love’, ‘darling’ and ‘babe’ directed towards them.

What a shame. When we were back in my wife's country for christmas she was telling everyone what a warm and friendly place Wales was - and that everyone calls you Love in the shops and cafes!

Singleactsoftyranny said...

How much of an attention-seeking, inadequate, empty-life, friendless, charmless, grovelling cunt do you have to be to complain about a trampoline, a song or someone else's child care?

pebbles yap said...

i didn't know that singing is a crime. lol