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Residents Association Magazine arrow Summer 2004 - 21

YOB CULTURE IN BROADSTONE

In my role as a Community Beat Officer for Broadstone and Merley, it was obvious why I was asked to write an article covering the above subject. Especially when one looks at the number of incidents relating to anti-social behaviour and the complaints made by the public and residents of Broadstone which regularly relate to the younger section of the Broadstone Community.

As a Police Officer with 25 years experience, 13 of those years in and around Broadstone, I have not seen any real change in the behaviour of the teenage generation in Broadstone. This may seem hard to accept from some residents, but if you look back historically, the same antics that the youngsters get up to in the present are the same antics that children got up to twenty years ago. The main differences from then and now, is the lack of respect offered by the younger generation towards the elder generation. I personally feel this stems from society’s acceptance of a more liberal lifestyle, and this then filters down from the parent’s view of society and also the education system’s way of dealing with children.

I can see this in the way my 8-year-old son acts and behaves in such a manner that my father would sometimes view his behaviour as showing a lack of respect. I can see what my son does and the things he gets away with as far beyond the realms of acceptable behaviour for an 8-year-old in the early 1960s. And tam sure, truth be told the older generation can see a difference from the way their children who were brought up in the 1950s, and their children brought up in the l980s who are now bringing up their children in 2000s.

A regular complaint I receive is children drinking under age; well of course this again has come about by the relative abundance of alcohol outlets now open. In the 1 960s, you would have had to go to the off licence to purchase alcohol, now you can purchase alcohol from all supermarkets, garages and corner shops. You would never have had access to alcohol in the home, let alone outside, when you were only 13 or 14, and my father never allowed me to drink at home until I was 16. I’ve been to some houses where the 13 and 14 year olds are allowed to drink at home; the children then see no wrong in drinking alcohol in public places.

Another complaint I receive is that children congregate in large groups. Residents often perceive this as threatening, but generally the children are just being loud. l am sure they could find a more appropriate area to meet, but Broadstone has a heart, and that is where the children want to be, the centre happens to be well lit and well catered for with shops, some open as late as 11pm. Again forty years ago the centre of Broadstone would have closed at 5.30pm, and no group of 14 year olds would be out that late The language the children are using now is not suitable for use in a public place. Again, use of what I consider to be inappropriate language is more accepted in society at the present day. There is an advert on television for a toilet paper “that is soft on your bum”. The word bum, is one that I will not allow my 8-year-old to use, even though most of his friends’ parents use it. It’s just that I have my parent’s attitude towards foul language, which is they would never swear in front of me. To this day the only swear word my father uses is “bloody hell”.

Finally, I feel that the freedom of space that youngsters had in the past has now been curtailed by fears of sexual offenders, fears for the children’s safety and the move to pastimes that can only be used in the home. This has led the younger generation failing to see the fun in mucking about in the woods, or playing on the Heath, or in my experience, Salisbury Plain. As a child at a very early age, I would trek onto Salisbury Plain with my friends, light a fire and cook sausages and beans in a billycan over an open fire. If some children attempted to do this today on Salisbury Plain, l am sure the fire service and the Police would descend on them in an instant and probably prosecute the children for setting illegal fires. I moved to Dorset in 1979, when Canford Heath was still a heath and not an expanse of housing, and when Pine Springs was just that. I am sure there are older residents of Broadstone who can remember the train station and steam trains passing through what was then truly a small village. Broadstone is no longer a small sleepy village, it is an area of over 5,000 homes and approximately 11,000 residents. With four schools and a centre with shops open up to 11 .00pm at night.

So in conclusion, and this is my private belief, “Is there a yob culture in Broadstone?”

MY ANSWER HAS TO BE A RESOUNDING NO.

What I do believe is, that the present generation has a more relaxed and liberal approach to life than that of their parents and indeed their grandparents. The vast majority of children Ideal with in Broadstone are polite, respectful to me and above all law abiding and honest. As long as that attitude remains, there will not be a yob culture in Broadstone.

Finally I asked myself, would I live in Broadstone? The answer was YES.

Nick WYER Broadstone Community Beat Officer

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Last Updated: 1st September 2004