Nearly 90% of over 50s say parents battling to control wayward children should have the right to invite police officers into their home to have a stern word with errant youngsters.
More than 14,000 over 50s were polled by independent research organisation Populus on behalf of Saga, the lifestyle, holidays and financial services organisation, with only 7% of respondents saying they thought the idea wouldn’t work.
Emma Soames, editor-at-large of Saga Magazine, says exasperated parents faced with dealing with a youngster showing disrespect for family or property, or committing minor but anti-social misdemeanours, should be able to call a bobby to deliver a ticking off – and the next government should also consider a “New Tricks” -style squad of retired officers to carry out home visits.
“I think that both parents and the Police would probably relish the opportunity for a stern word to be issued if they believed it would stop a life of crime dead in its tracks,” said Emma.
“It's all about nipping anti-social behaviour in the bud; the first time a child commits a ‘crime’ against the family, friends or neighbours – taking money from a mum’s purse, for instance – parents should be able to call in their local policeman to explain to their child that if they'd done it outside the home or their close circle, then they’d end up in court, fined, possibly even in a cell.
“These visits would be carefully considered with parents before being carried out. I also think there is a good case for getting retired police officers involved; the mix of age and experience, and the authority of an older person I believe would be highly effective.”
Emma believes such a move could be a key factor in nipping bad behaviour in the bud and thus making the country’s streets less intimidating for a generation that remembers respect for age and authority.
“One of the scariest things that could happen when I was a teenager was for a police officer to tell you off; a uniformed policeman turning up at your door was both embarrassing and terrifying, because a policeman was perceived as meaning a trip to the police station to help with enquiries,” said Emma.
Emma Soames says that a convincing set of policies to address “feral youth” issues could help win big election support from over 55s, who, when independently polled, said they were three times as likely to vote as under 25s.
There are 21 million over 50s in the UK.
For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529