A Granny’s Army could be the spearhead of a plan to drive anti-social behaviour off the streets.
An RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts) report has suggested that individuals and communities could be trained to tackle low-level yobbery, and Emma Soames, editor-at-large of Saga magazine, says there could be some merit in it.
“There are several key opportunities here: First, in my opinion, there’s a granny factor; it’s a rare teenager or group who would resist or ignore the admonishment or guidance of a granny figure remonstrating about dropped litter or feet on bus seats – so let’s get the Neighbourhood Watch brigade actively mobilised,” said Emma Soames, 60.
“Second, I think there’s a great opportunity to bring retired Police and armed forces personnel into play – they’re used to commanding respect and diffusing difficult situations, and would make good trainers and role models.
“However, training should be very carefully monitored – ‘busybody’ authority is something that provokes anti-social behaviour.
“The key is where the line is drawn in terms of what the public should and shouldn’t get involved with; this training is only appropriate for a scale of ‘Class D’ crime and anti-social behaviour - below violence, threat, property theft or damage – covering litter-dropping, offensive language, playing music too loud and so on.
“Of course, the big issue is changing the attitude of the perpetrator. People get outraged by anti-social behaviour, but it’s the perpetrators of anti-social behaviour who should be tackled, and parenting lies at the root of it.
“Changing the behaviour of people who seem genetically tuned for acts of anti-social behaviour is a complex issue.
“This has to be all about the power of parents, who, in concert, work as one to deter, prevent and correct children who step out of line. But backing up parental authority with vigilance and low key intervention in the local community can only be a good thing.”
For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529