University Assignment: Patch Story Interview 2

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

For the same patch story, I interviewed a senior youth justice lecturer from Nottingham Trent university to try and get my head around why some youths behave the way they do around times like Bonfire Night.

What is your full job title, and do you work anywhere else other than Nottingham Trent University?

No, I don’t I work full time here as a senior lecturer in Youth Justice

Do you think criminal activity and anti-social behaviour is likely to increase over the bonfire period? If so, why?
Yes, my opinion is that it’s always happened; historically it’s always happened around the build up to celebrations at this particular time of the year. The days are shorter, the nights are darker and they are more hidden so they think they can get away with more. There’s less for them to do so they basically go out with no intention of harming anyone, they think it’s having fun.

Do you think it’s more because they haven’t got anything to do, because of lot of firework displays are targeted towards young children or adults?
Firework displays are targeted more towards young children, towards more middle class, most charge a free and can be quite substantial which disallows the majority of poor underclass working class children to access them so they make their own fun.

There have been reports of criminal activity by youths in West Bridgford, for example setting off fireworks on top of cars, why do you think youths see bonfire night as a time to act unsafely?
Absolutely no harm intended, setting off fireworks is down to availability; one thing I will say in my experience is what youth’s do today this time of year is nothing to what they did in my year. It’s a lot better, we used to put bangers through peoples letterboxes and a firework called jumping jacks which have now been banned - they use to land on peoples carpet and jump around their house. In those days you didn't have so many public and communal bonfires, groups of children were stealing wood from someone’s bonfire to put on their own bonfire.

How do you think events and schemes could be implemented around this time to entertain youths and raise awareness about the dangers of fireworks?
I do yeah, I think that would be a really useful thing to do, I know they do it in schools but they target certain ages, and they probably should be done to all age groups throughout, the education around the safety of people, property and things is the way to go.

What do you think the main reason is behind anti-social behaviour?
Lack of social capital, so it’s not having access to things that others would, not having a great deal to do, they decide their own entertainment and generally come up with something inappropriate

Do you think it’s labelled down to poor parenting?
I don’t think you can ever say it’s down to one thing, always a combination and amalgam of things, poor parenting being one of them. You could have someone from a very stable middle class background who will engage in this type of activity too.
Some young people will do it for rebellion against their middle class upbringing and others will do it because of poor parenting and because they don’t know anything different. But a lot of what is classed as anti-social behaviour isn’t anti-social behaviour. When groups of people gather outside of a newsagent’s or corner shops for example, they’re not doing it to intimidate, and people perceive it as that, so a lot of anti-social behaviour is about our perceptions which is driven by the media

If shop owners aren’t checking customer’s ages when purchasing fireworks, do you think this puts an increasing number of people at risk as youths are not using them safely?
I don’t think that’s the issue, if children want fireworks they’ll get hold of them. Shop owners are a lot more on the ball with requesting age evidence certainly with fireworks but where there’s a will there’s a way

Do you think it would benefit the community to only allow companies running a bonfire night event to purchase fireworks? Would this reduce criminal activity?
Personally I do yes, which might be a view not supported by some of my colleagues even for instance but myself personally I really don’t think they should be up for the public sale. It’s a waste of money.

Is there anything else you would like to comment on regarding this issue?
The only thing I would like to reiterate is we think anti-social behaviour is bad at the mo and certainly think it gets worse round this of year but I ca n honestly say it’s nothing to what it is in the past. Often the public worry about nothing, it’s just perceptions.

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