Tories want less “bleating” over low-level disorder

By Alex Stevenson

Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve believes the public should rely less on the police when dealing with low-level antisocial behaviour by young people.

He told the Independent newspaper members of the public need to lighten police officers’ workload by no longer constantly running to them for support.

“Most of the complaints being made by the public are about quite low level antisocial behaviour issues about children and adolescents,” he said.

“I don’t believe these problems didn’t exist in the past, but in the past they were controlled because adults felt confident in tackling these problems themselves, not by being vigilantes, but by being sensible citizens.”

Mr Grieve is concerned people should not be so concerned about telling children to behave themselves.

And he suggested part of the reason for this tendency may be because they are so “regulated and controlled in every other way”.

“History shows that if you go out and tell ten- and 11-year-olds who are misbehaving to stop misbehaving or you will call the police, they will stop,” he added.

The shadow home secretary warned police believe “their discretion has been eroded” because of onerous paperwork requirements.

“If somebody comes in to a police station and makes an allegation clearly of the most trivial character they nevertheless have to record it, to investigate it, go through a process of dealing with it which may involve going round and confronting the person against whom the trivial allegation has been made,” he said.

“Equally, the public seem to have become tremendously willing to go running off to the police to bleat about the most minor matters.”