The issue that I am studying and what both the articles are studying is the matter of teenage curfews. I am going to look at two articles to see what the press and newspapers, from different sides of the political spectrum, have to say about the concern of teenage curfews. There are arguments for and against, depending on what article it is. The main arguments for teenage curfews are that teenage “yobbery” and “hooliganism” have been increasing; whereas the main argument against teenage curfews is that it is “breaching young people’s rights”. The two articles are from The Guardian and the Daily Mail. The Guardian has the title “Teenage Curfews Criticised” this article has a balanced view with points for and against the use of teenage curfews. Whereas the Daily Mail’s title is “Blair Blitz on Yobs” this article is a lot more biased and has loads of points for the curfew but none against it.
The Guardian, on the left-wing of the political spectrum, is a fair, balanced article with points and views for and against the installation of a teenage curfew. Many people have been interviewed in this article. The first is Chris Stanley, spokesman on youth crime for the crime reduction charity NACRO said “These powers could well upend becoming the Dangerous Dogs Act of the juvenile justice system, popular with no one and virtually impossible to enforce” this is a point against the use of teenage curfews “Enforcement could prove to be a nightmare, with tension and conflict between young people and the police increasing, not diminishing, as a result”. He later added “I pity the police officer who has to spend his or her evenings working out which teenagers are under 16 and which are over 16” what Mr Stanley is on about is that if the bill did become an act then the police would find it almost impossible to enforce, this could also mean that while a policeman was checking a bunch of teenagers for their age, there could be someone older further on down the road who is robbing a shop or vandalising something.
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Beverly Hughes a junior home office minister has a different view though, “extending the age range of the curfews would mean the authorities could better protect communities and the young people themselves. These orders are not designed to be used in isolation, but are another tool that police and local authorities can use to tackle antisocial behaviour” she said. Her point of view shows us that she is for the use of teenage curfews. She added that they would also better equip officers to “protect children from the risks of being unaccompanied on the streets on the streets at night – from adults such as drug dealers and pimps, or older peers encouraging them into criminal activities”. Simon Hughes (not related to Beverly Hughes), the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman said the new orders risked stigmatising whole areas and were another example of the governments “strong authoritarian trend”.
As one teenager put it to me, it’s punishing the whole class for the misbehaviour of one or two,” he told the BBC Radio 4’s Today program. I would say that this article has, overall, got a balanced view with balanced dialogue and uses a wide range of different opinions that have been used. The Daily Mail supports the work that Tony Blair is doing and has been interviewed with lots of references from him in this article; along with Stan Shiels, vice chairman of the British Legion club in Newham. Tony Blair says, “There are lots of big crimes we need to tackle and lots of things to do with public services, but when people go out of their doors or go down to their local British Legion Club or whatever, the problems they face are to do with fly-tipping, abandoned cars, graffiti, petty vandalism.”
Mr Blair later added “In a sense, respect is what it is all about. We all have to live together in our communities and we should show some respect to each other. People are entitled – not just elderly people, but young people in the community as well – to be able to walk the streets, to go and see their friends, have a decent time, be law-abiding people and play by the rules and they should find that everybody else does the same.” If you ask me I think he is living in dream world, nothing is ever going to be perfect; nothing is ever going to be all peaceful, he has got his head stuck up in the clouds. Stan Shiels said to Tony Blair how it had been plagued by vandalism and threatening behaviour by youths, “IT was intimidating” he said “They’d come down here in cars and smoke drugs. They started fires, set up camp on our roof and shouted abuse at members. We had travellers camped here and people dumped stolen cars.
Our members are elderly and they were afraid to come down here in the evening. We put barbed wire everywhere. It looked like Colditz, but they just brought wire-cutters and chopped it away.” This is comparing what is happening with them to war. Although there are big and long quotes that have been used, there are no quotes against the introduction of the teenage curfews. Along with this, the language that is used is very biased towards the so-called “problems” of teenagers when there are no views against it; the language is words such as “hooliganism”, “vandalism” and “robbery”. I have done a lot of research and I have found that although, according to last years British Crime Survey, overall there was a 12% drop in crime between 1999 and 2000. Burglaries fell by 17%, vehicle-related theft by 11%, household theft by 16% and violent crime by 19%.
I have looked at these statistics and I have found that the full picture tells a different story, more and more people are getting more scared by the day as mobile phone thefts and normal muggings are increasing, along with shootings almost doubling since 1995. Although I couldn’t find many statistics about young people committing a crime I did find articles saying how it is normally younger, drunk people who commit crimes, I also found this – Most of the people I have spoken to don’t want a teenage curfew, but this is mainly because most of them are my age, 14-15 and would be subject to this law. I think that there shouldn’t be a teenage curfew, mainly because of the arguments I have read about the introduction of teenage curfews and how it would be taking away a teenagers rights. Although I am a bit biased as I would be subject to it as well. I don’t know what else can be done but I think an on the spot fine is a good idea as it would save the country a lot of money having to take them to court.