So, how SHOULD cops deal with yoofs?
It USED to be that if a copper caught a kid causing trouble, a stern word would normally be enough to stop them (or make them run off). This would be because there was still a healthy respect for the authority of the policeman, some of which can be attrubuted to the fact that if undesireable behaviour persisted, said kid would get a helfy clip round the ear, and likely enough marched home for all to see, where their parents would likely also deal out some suitable retribution.
Fast forward to 2009, and instead of that we (to all casual observers, anyway) have the following PC PC (Politically Correct Police Constable) guidelines:
- No clipping around the ear. This is physical child abuse
- No wading in with the baton either. This is also physical child abuse
- No physical contact at all, ideally - this may be construed as either physical or sexual child abuse.
- If you are attacked, even viciously, be careful not to physically hurt the attacker(s) when defending yourself. That could also be classified as child abuse.
- No remonstrating with them too firmly, either - this may be construed as verbal child abuse
- Try to avoid the marching-home-to-parents option - they'll probably take the kids side, and you might get sued for causing extreme mental trauma by humiliating in front of their mates
Faced with the above, the taser becomes an ideal choice - no physical contact, no verbal input beyond the required warnings, no risk of parental wrath until safely at the station etc.
OK, so I've taken that to the logical extremes, but I'm intrigued as to how the Police, who are, after all, our Law ENFORCEMENT service, are actually supposed to enforce the law when certain sections of society are rendered virtually untouchable.
Personally, I think reasonable corporal punishment has a valid place in law enforcement - friends tell a story of a 'bit of a lad' type who, upon moving to South Africa a few decades ago when corporal punishment was still on the books, demolished a bus shelter 'for kicks', got sentanced to six of the best, and never got into trouble again as a direct result.
However, if a lesser option is preferred, re-introduce the use of stocks in town centres. Supply a steady stream of troublemakers and wet sponges, and not only do you have very satisfying public-centered retribution for more minor offences, reducing both the prison population and police paperwork, but if you charged 10p a throw for the sponges I reckon you could make a small fortune for charity! ;)