Suffolk Lib Dem peer Lord Andrew Philips made a citizen’s arrest on a boy believed to be 10-years-old yesterday for allegedly throwing his bike to the ground.
While I’m also fed up up with the lack of respect and yobbish anti social behaviour of some young people (a minority of our population because we have so many we should be proud of too), I do think Lord Philips went over the top here, particularly bearing in mind his background.
According to a report in today’s East Anglian Daily Times, Lord Philips asked a group of young lads to stop riding bikes on a narrow stretch of path on Market Hill in Sudbury, famed for being the birthplace of our great artist Thomas Gainsborough.
The boys’ response was lippy, resorting to foul language, and then one of the boys threw Lord Philips’ bike to the ground. So the peer grabbed the boy by the scruff of the neck, who protested his innocence, while his friends told Lord Philips to “get off”. But he asked a passer-by to call the police, and an officer arrived within minutes.
What makes this particularly interesting is that Lord Philips has a legal background as a solicitor, so knows only too well how to apply the law. He has been on BBC Radio 2‘s Jimmy Young Show as their “legal eagle. And in 1997 he was awarded the OBE for establishing the Citizenship Foundation, of which he is president, and for his work with young people and the law. So one assumes he is used to communicating with young people, and in challenging situations.
The Citizenship Foundation aims to empower individuals and young people to engage in the wider community through education about the law, democracy and society, focusing particularly on developing young peopleâ€™s citizenship skills, knowledge and understanding. In fact, the foundation was recently awarded 100,000 Euros for its work to ‘anchor civic engagement within the educational experience’. I wonder why Lord Philips doesn’t try and engage these young lads with the ethos of citizenship, let them learn and benefit from his experience with the foundation’s support?
This is how Lord Philips recounted the experience:
â€œI first saw the youngsters biking along the narrow path from the Borehamgate Precinct and told them that they couldn’t ride there as it could be dangerous for young mums with prams.
â€œThey swore at me but it was nothing more than small change from some silly boys. But when I saw them then throw my bike on the floor, I thought ‘I’m not having that’.
â€œThis not just a problem in Sudbury, this is a problem everywhere although our town does have its fair and share of this type of behaviour and it is unacceptable. These boys were not wicked, they just need to realise there are rules you have to stick by.
â€œThis was certainly not brave, it was just a small gesture towards a community standing up for itself and knowing you can’t leave it to the police.
â€œThis kind of behaviour is something I feel very strongly about – you can’t just pass on by and hope things will get better. I think this highlights the absence of beat officers which is unhelpful to put it mildly.
What do you think about this? I would personally like to see special neighbourhood courts set up to deal with anti-social behaviour in local communities. Have you ever made a citizen’s arrest? I wonder whether Lord Philips simply got out of bed the wrong way yesterday.
He has my full support – swift effective action is what young boys understand..
Geoff, that was my first response. But when I delved deeper and discovered Lord Philips’ background, I felt he had contacts and experience to help make a real difference to how these young children could change their ways by engaging them with his Citizenship Foundation and its ethos.
My reaction is “Well done, Lord P” too. It doesn’t matter what his background is – we can all lose our temper when our own property is involved and I think he had every right to.
I’m outnumbered so far, I’ll keep you posted on any further reports about this. Because of the boys’ ages, I doubt that there is much police can do. But I would like to see Lord Philips use this as an opportunity to work with them and encourage them to embrace the citizenship philosophy. A lot of the time, these kids are very bored and don’t know how to use their time constructively.
‘Fraid I must disagree with you too, Ellee: Phillips’ actions in grabbing one of the young ruffians by the scruff of the neck and holding him for the police strike me as very effectively “communicating with young people” — the one he was holding in particular. The young rapscallions faster and more fortunate friends may have also received the message communicated, namely, sometimes even the old guys will stand up for themselves….
Let’s get this straight ellee?
You want liberal-lefties to teach our children ‘the citizenship philosophy’?
I’d rather they go got a good clip round the ear from some grumpy old codger they swore at myself.
I’m sorry, but I’d like to rant a bit more about supporting his liberal-lefty citizenship nonsense.
His Citizenship Foundation produces a school resource called ‘Ending Slavery and unfinished business.’
Now when I was at school (a mixed ability state comprehensive I might add) we were taught at the age of 11 that when writing an arguement essay we had to discuss both sides. This document doesn’t do that.
Under the heading “What are the reasons for Modern Slavery” the otherwise good publication becomes onesided, stating:
“The main reason is poverty. There is a huge pool of poor people throughout the world who are powerless and have no jobs. Because of changes in the world many of these have drifted to the outskirts of large cities. They can easily be exploited and used by those who want to make profit out of them. Another important reason is that governments allow slavery to go unpunished even though it is illegal everywhere. Sometimes this is because of corruption or because governments donâ€™t want to offend business people, sometimes because they are just not interested and have no respect for peopleâ€™s human rights. Modern slavery is part of theglobalised world. It is a huge business in which enormous profits can be made from areas like agriculture, mining, construction and prostitution.”
I would argue the main reason is immorality. Slavery often occurs in a context of cultural and religious justification, i.e. force labour in Saudi Arabia.
Liberal-lefties cannot bring themselves to suggest that not all cultures are equal. If they are the only force teaching young Brits to be good Christians then we are doomed.
It is worth taking note of what Saudi-sponsored textbooks try to teach British kids:
So in effect the liberal lefties ‘citizenship’ lesson, when you bring in the ‘equality and iversity’ module, says:
Slavery is wrong, so is any form of racism. Britain is institutionally racist but we are getting better. We don’t believe in slavery any more but we don’t believe that one man’s cultural values are superior to another mans. All of our cultures and religions are equal. In parts of the world where slavery still occur, no blame can be ascribed to foreign cultures and religions, it is all the fault of globalisation, capitalism and the fact that demand for labour is short of supply for labour. Hey, perhaps if we print lots of money and give it to the poor people we can stop slavery. Forget economics because all university degrees are equal too, why not go to the University of Stalingrad and study ‘Refugee Science with Citizenship’ and apply for a nice cushy public sector job from the guradian like I did?
A clip round the ear, Ellee.
It was a much nicer country when I were a lad.
I expect my previous sentence would render anything I say as irrelevant in the circles of power as I have now portrayed myself as an old curmudgeon (I’m only 42 !). That is our biggest problem – we are ruled by people whose greatest fear is of being … unfashionable.
Good to have you back, Ellee.
Charge Lord Philips with assault…
Bring back hanging!
Jailhouselawyer, I have been wondering if that might happen, a court would decide whether such force was necessary in restraining a 10-year-old, and if he exceeded that.
Steven L, no way.
Elle: I seem to recall something like that happening with a judge and a bicycle and if my memory serves me right I think he got sacked…
OK, so we don’t want a return to hanging, but do we want to go to the other extreme where killers are allowed to be ‘rehabilitated’, perhaps given a new identity, and even lecture us about charging upstanding members of society with crimes they have not committed?
‘@jailhouselawyer: Battery perhaps, as far as we know no threat of force was used just the force itself.
The question remains whether this was a lawful arrest? Is the criminal damage by a minor of a bike that one assumes cost less then Â£5k an indictable offence?
I totally agree with what Lord Philips has done and over here in Australia one would hope the same thing would happen. Basically the boys are not wicked, they need to learn some manners and a good neck scruffing should make them think twice.