Speech delivered to the full Council meeting on 14th July 2005
Thank you Mr Mayor.
I am pleased to see this year‘s Youth Justice Plan, and was indeed very happy to substitute at a scrutiny committee meeting earlier this year when the subject of "restorative justice" was looked at. This topic is mentioned at C.4.5 on page 10 of the Plan and on a couple of other pages. It is one way for young offenders to at least partly repay the debt they owe to the victims of their actions.
Followers of the local and national media will be aware of at least one victim of anti-social behaviour in my ward, caused largely as a result of fallout from a nearby designated "hotspot", and as a result of police action in identifying one of the culprits, I have just this week witnessed an example of this being applied in my ward, and am moderately pleased with this approach which does at least result in consequences to perpetrators of criminal damage.
The present-day strange way of life in terms of anti-social activities for some of today‘s youth is now well entrenched, and it will take much time and effort—and probably a fair amount of lateral thinking—to change this nationwide situation. What we can do locally is more limited, but our Youth Justice Plan is an essential part of the local end of that process. We‘ll do our part, in partnership with the police and appropriate other agencies, but what we do need is full support from national government in the way laws are worded and to be enforced, including appropriate punishments that will once again act as a disincentive to much youth crime—something that clearly is not the case today.
Thank you very much, Mr Mayor.
John M Ward (Councillor, Rochester South and Horsted)