Posted by Joseph
A big thank-you to the people (aged c13) who woke my 8 month old daughter up last night at midnight. It took us another hour to settle her down which was just super. The bottle of Lambrini (so cliched) is still there empty on the steps, next to the other bottle which is smashed on the floor.
I think that one of them was called Charlotte. I can't be sure of this but that was certainly the name that was being screeched at around midnight. In any case I took a picture of one of them that is really rather good, her face raised in shock (she was puking on my back steps at the time and probably not ready for my cinematic intrusion) but I'm sure I've got a good likeness.
Now I've cleared up the sick, so my two and a half year old son does not play in it today, and the piss that stinks out the alley I cannot directly attribute to these pair so I'll do that too. I'll clear up the smashed glass just for everyone elses safety as that seems sensible. But what else?
I'd really like to post the picture on the Internet, so that the girl could come and apologise to us, and maybe clear up a little. Maybe her parents could see it and keep her in after say 10pm on a Friday, or her friends. Would it be wrong to do this? A little public naming and shaming, a stocks for the modern times perhaps. I sort of feel that calling the police at midnight on a Friday might have been unfair on the police who will have more pressing issues to deal with. And besides a 6ft bloke grabbing a 13 year old girl at midnight and holding her in your house until the police come would terrify her unfairly and unwisely.
So what do you think?
Joseph - I can see the headlines now 'Man arrested for breaching girl's human right to privacy'!
Its appears you showed great restraint, others may have acted more unwisely (as you suggested) and would only have landed themselves in trouble.
As someone who has worked with young people for many years it also concerns me that 13 year olds are wandering around in such a vulnerable state.
Before Hebden Bridge based PC Julie Hansord (nee Horner) left for sunnier climes, she began work on a Street Angels scheme. This is based on a scheme in Halifax and involves appropriately qualified volunteers walking the streets of Hebden on a Friday and Saturday night. There was to be a 'base' which served hot drinks and provided first aid facilities. Details on the Halifax scheme can be found here.
In your case a call to 'Hebden Street Angels' may well have been the best option. Restorative justice would have taken place and the young person involved removed to a safe place.
May I suggest you contact the Neighbourhood Policing team and offer them your photo, chances are they may know her. The two key officers in Hebden Bridge are PC Dave Mayes and PCSO Steve Bates.
It may be that the community decides that the 'Hebden Street Angels' is a good idea. Lets not forget we get to vote soon... Any takers?
From Joanna Beacroft-Mitchell
The Street Angels are the project of the year for Community Foundation for Calderdale where I work and are a fabulous organisation who have made a massive impact on the streets in Halifax (at least 40% reduction in street crime for a start !).
Discussions about a Hebden scheme were fairly embryonic and sadly when Julie left Paul Blakey of the Angels lost his contact in Hebden. With a view to getting Hebden Royd Town Council to assist with setting this up, I've been speaking with Paul about the Hebden scheme, - hopefully we can get him to come and talk to the Town Council early in the next term (and if I don't get elected I'll pass on details to someone who does !!).
Last weekend my daughter and 2 friends were physically assaulted by a group of youths in the town centre. My daughter has just turned 12 years old and is at that stage where she needs to be confident about asserting a degree of independence. It was late afternoon when the incident took place and although no-one was seriously hurt the group were shaken and upset. As far as I can make out, this was an unprovoked attack. It also took place in daylight hours while people were shopping in town.
I like to think that should this happen again, passers by would be horrified and would step in to help out. I certainly would. If this behaviour is left unchallenged then it will continue to occur. As a parent it is difficult to take the decision to let your children start to take small trips into town to gain confidence and start the road to adulthood. But it has to be done. I would like to make other parents aware of this incident so they can look out for their child's safety and ask them also to look out for one another's children. I don't think that is too much to ask from the community in which we live.
I took the decision at the time not to report this to the police as I do not know who the youths are but I will certainly be more aware of what is going on around us all!
Andi, I truly hope your daughter and her friends are OK. Events like this can have a lasting effect and can seriously undermine the confidence of young people as they venture towards independence. Often victims can feel guilt, as in some way it was partly their fault. Your daughter needs reassurance that these events are rare, and in no way is she to blame.
A female friend of mine was recently assaulted on a bus in Leeds. Although the bus was full no-one intervened as the teenage girl attacker repeatedly smashed my friends head against the metal seat bar. She spent some time unable to use public transport and even felt sympathy towards her attacker. 'What a horrible life this young girl must have to resort to such behaviour.' She didn't want to go to the police until I asked 'What happens if she does it to someone else, someone weaker, someone elderly?' Her attacker is now in detention for this, and numerous other offences.
In Hebden I recently approached a young lad 'attacking' a young girl who was repeatedly screaming for help. Both then told me to 'f**k off' as they were 'only messin'. I also witnessed a young lad being punched to the ground and left lying in the street. As a qualified first-aider I went to his assistance only to be told through a blooded mouth 'f**k off or I'll smack yer'.
As far a public intervention goes, many are understandably reluctant due to their own self preservation. Not only being physically attacked, but also potentially arrested and charged should any physical contact take place.
Fortunately, these anti-social young people are very much a minority. Unfortunately, the majority of law abiding young people are often treated with contempt by the community due to lack of distinction.
My point is you must report this incident to the police. I attend police meetings where categorised crime numbers are reviewed and action taken. If crimes go unreported the police think everything is fine, as they don't know otherwise. If every incident is reported this reflects a true representation of what is happening in our community, and police resources and initiatives can be deployed as demand dictates.
As for the victim they can find comfort in the fact that a crime has been committed, that its not their fault and the that the Police are taking action. Consequently our town will be a better and safer place to live.
To quote the West Yorkshire Police website
Contacting the Police in an Emergency
Always dial 999 in an emergency where there is a danger to life, or a crime is in progress. This number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. From a mobile phone, please dial 999 or 112.
Telephone 0845 6060606 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for non-emergencies where, Police attendance is required, to report a crime, to report other incidents.
I also have witnessed anti-social behaviour, this time in Mytholmroyd. We were waiting to catch a bus and there was a group of young teenagers taking the mick out of an elderly man at the bus stop opposite. He crossed over and was followed by several of the youths, most of whom were taunting him very loudly. They then split leaving only two of them. The elderly man, who I believe was a little the worse for wear, then sat nearby while the two youths continued to harang him from the bus stop using extremely foul language.
To be honest, I just could not stand there and let them get away with it, and told them to leave the elderly chap alone and to stop using such foul language in front of others. After some protesting they did apologise to me, but not to the man.
But my reasoning is, why should we stand in silence while this is going on? Apart from the fact that they were bullying the elderly chap, worse for wear or not, I hate having to listen to the effing and blinding!
Admittedly, had the youths been older I would have thought twice about getting involved, but sometimes they do need to be shamed into seeing that what they are doing is wrong.
Thanks for your support and the advice. After talking to others about this I have since reported the incident to the police. I don't know what action will be taken by them but at least the incident has been logged.
I've also learned through talking with others that there's quite a bit of this kind of aggressive behaviour happening at the moment. I know the risks involved in challenging anti-social behaviour but like Lou I'll assess those risks and speak out in the hope that the message gets across that our community does give a damn.
From Meg Hyde
I myself am a youth of Hebden Bridge and I take great pride in saying that there is no 'anti social behaviour' problem with me and my friends. Yes fair enough, some of us have taken a disliking to the police and other authority figures but that dosn't mean that we make it known in any sort of 'abusive way'.
We like to sit on the park and socialise and yeah sometimes people may have a drink or two but that's not to say that we get drunk and disorderly. We all have respect for our home town of Hebden and for the people that live here.
And to be honest, if people have got a problem with us 'loitering' then bloody well do something about it! OK so we have a youth club.... it closes at 7'o clock so what are we meant to do for the rest of our night? Yeah we have the skate park but this is England folks. It rains almost 24/7 and you can't skate when its wet!
I agree that there are a few individuals around Hebden that are not very considerate about thier actions but wouldn't that be expected of any society? We are growing up and learning so just let us live and try and to enjoy ourselves!
From C J
Can I just say the majority of the time its people aged around 20-30 who are rowdy on the streets causing trouble.
I really dislike the way you all refer to us as the anti-social youths because apart from the few groups of little girls (they are growing up after all. I'm sure you were the same).
The real trouble is mostly caused by adults (over 18s) and youths really are getting blamed when a huge majority are minding their own business.
We don't talk about older people and generalise you all to be the same. Some are strict and traditional and others relaxed and easy-going. Everyone's different.
From Bernie Smith
I agree with Miss Hyde, sterotypical views are at the heart of this discussion. Everybody in every part of the country experiences Anti social behaviour, Hebden's no different. "Do gooder's" once again, spreading the word that hebden is oh so horrendously rough and people are scared to go out- If you dont like it, report it. I often see the police talking to the youths on a friday night, having general conversation, aksing them to be quiet and making sure them, and the public are safe: this is their job, some jobsworths go about it with more force- hence the disliking towards them.
Treat people with respect, and you will get it back. (this applies both to youths and adults - then we won't go far wrong.
From Paul D
It’s hard to deny that there’s a problem with anti-social behaviour in Hebden Bridge. At certain times and in certain places, the behaviour of a significant minority of young people is shameful and displays a complete disregard for others. But we should see this as a symptom of a much deeper malaise in the town, linked I think to the excessive ‘liberalism’ of the 1970s and an adult population who have pretty much given up on believing in such a thing as society.
If we use the example of Meg, who for the sake of argument I’ll assume (as a youth club user) isn’t legally entitled to buy or consume alcohol in public, then she needs to know that there are very good reasons why she’s protected by the law. The law isn’t there just to restrict her behaviour, but to safeguard her health. Her body can do without the damage, but there’re others risks involved with street drinking, which is what she’s doing. These include the increased risk of early sexual activity, increased exposure to other drug use (such as cannabis), greater contact with inappropriate adults and increased risk of involvement in criminal and anti-social activities. So Meg is putting herself at risk and if we sit back and let her do that then we’re part of the problem, not its solution. Already she’s “taken a disliking to the police”, who’ll possibly be the ones who pick her up and make her safe when others around her either neglect or undermine her welfare.
So who funds all this illegal consumption and stands back as it happens? The parents, extended family and friends are right up there if we’re looking for someone to blame. But again apportioning blame is not the best way forward. Some young people are self medicating, using alcohol to lessen or blot out their anxieties and pain. Their anti-social and risk behaviour, largely under the influence of alcohol, is a cry for help. So their parents, extended family and peers are not listening to them, possibly because they got liberalism and liberty confused. Lacking any moral compass, many parents simply give their children what they say they want, not what they really need. It’s no accident that Hebden Bridge suffers from so much anti-social behaviour when so many parents who live in the town buy off their children’s needs with a tenner to spend on who cares what. These so called ‘liberal’ parents foist their own confusion on the rest of us via their kids.
An example is the skate park. Much needed but in the wrong place. You’d struggle to find a more intimidating feature to frighten the elderly, make lone women quicken their pace and ruin the visual amenity of our most important green space. Worse than that, at times the very young are too intimidated to use it – the kids we’re trying to help are being scared off. So giving young people what they need takes more than raising 30 grand for what they say they want - fools.
There are no ‘stereotypes’, some ‘older’ people are really frightened and some younger people are really suffering. If we start thinking what young people need and how they might be better included in society that’s be a start. But I’m not hopeful. Thatcherism has its ugly cousin in this town – the liberal parent. Those parents who allow their children to drink alcohol, buy them alcohol, or who know they drink alcohol and yet have not sought to address it. We need to say look - stop trying to be your child’s best friend and start being their mum or dad. Grow up and they will.
From Frances Minto
In the last 12 months I have spoken several times in support of more action for the youth of Hebden, in the Renaissance Project and Trades Club and most recently the World on Your Doorstep Festival. But I find this hard to do when I am trying to sort out £300 of damage to my car door with a road cone, and possible liability of the festival for the portaloos burnt out and damage to the grass (£1000+) probubly the same few vandals. Talk about biting the hand that feeds. Why?
I can't understand why they are at least not professional about it, they could join the army where they can cause destruction and chaos in a paid environment. Or put their energy for more positive use.
Why should I bother to support youth initiatives when my only interaction with them is generally in a negative way?
From Brian Garner
So it's official - **** (name of supermarket) - suppliers of large quantities of alcohol to yobs in the park... and suppliers of plastic bags for youths to litter the park with.
On this sunny Saturday afternoon, I watched two elderly ladies walking very cautiously past the gang who seem to assemble regularly in the memorial garden.
Perhaps making an area of the park into a ghetto is seen as a counterbalance to the gentrification of the square.
Is there a case for banning alcohol consumption in the park?
Previously, on the Hebweb Forum