But back in the days when cops actually policed instead of acting as an adjunct of the social work department, children were generally adequately deterred from embarking down that route, or police officers would quickly nip their actions in the bud if they strayed off the straight and narrow.
Now police are either hidebound by human rights and paperwork, or engaged in 'multi-agency' toing and froing with their 'partners' elsewhere in the bureaucracy, rather than able to actually deal directly with errant youngsters.
I wonder if Fiona Pilkington - who killed herself and her disabled daughter after years of torment from youths - would have preferred direct police involvement and enforcement instead of neglect and buck-passing between various branches of officialdom?
The public sector zeitgeist thinks that the rights/welfare-based approach to law and order is the solution, but its creeping dominance of the justice system has surely been the problem.
Meanwhile, on the subject of the Fiona Pilkington tragedy, a recent letter published in the Independent suggests one reason why no one listened to the family:
Following some previous horrific case of child abuse the Government put in place partnerships, where all agencies were to take responsibility for cases like that of Fiona Pilkington. As all are supposed to take responsibility, no one takes responsibility. Each partner puts a great deal of thought and effort into defining the limits of its role and responsibilities within the partnership, and is assiduous in analysing any problem and demonstrating quite clearly that it is (just) outside its remit. They are usually so, so sorry about this.The letter is also sceptical about the official response:
Just as I am not surprised by the Pilkington case, neither will I be surprised by the report produced by the "scrutiny" of what went wrong. It will be a wonderful report, describing in detail what happened, but not allocating blame, because how can you apportion blame when all concerned have acted strictly within their own agency terms of reference?Which indeed is just a more diplomatic way of expressing the criticisms I made recently regarding the Pilkington case (and the Brandon Muir case previously):
And, of course, as with Brandon Muir in Dundee, this kind of pompously termed multi-agency approach can clearly result merely in institutional buck-passing due to the diffusion of responsibility and communications breakdown, exacerbated, of course, by fawning politicians who hide with officialdom behind a pretence of accountability.But my comment about "fawning politicians" was perhaps a bit ironic given that the author of the Independent letter is a councillor, and a Lib Dem one to boot. Whatever next?!!