First of all, can I make a request. I see a number of bloggers saying Happy Holidays. I am not particularly religious but I guess I live in a culture that is steeped in Christian values. My understanding is that some people think it is offensive to non Christians to refer to Christmas and say Happy Holidays to make everyone feel included.
I would not dream of suggesting to Muslims that they change the name of Ramadan to fasting month or that Hindus shouldn't celebrate Diwali as it is named. I am happy to understand and, where possible, join in their celebrations. I feel sorry for the Christian faith. They are being marginalised and treated less favourably than other faiths. Christmas is almost exclusively a Christian festival. Why can we not say Happy Christmas? Why should this offend anyone?
To get this back on track as a police blog, I wanted to relay some experiences I have attending meetings with some of our partners. I spend a lot of time in meetings. Most of it is wasted. One of the meetings I attend discusses Persistent Young Offenders. These are the young people of Utopia who are committing crime day in and day out. We sit down with other agencies such as the Youth Offending Team (YOT) and Social Services and discuss what more we can do outside of the court system to try and stop the offending.
What I invariably hear is that these young people need help. They need a mentor to give them advice and support. They need help to get back into school or to get a job. They need trips to McDonalds and weekends away etc. etc. Invariably these kids are from backgrounds where there is no parental control or support and I agree that they need the help being suggested. What I never hear though is any mention of negative consequences. There is never any thought for the victims of crimes. No thought of consequences for offenders when they offend again or fail to turn up for their trip away, appointment with social worker or tell their YOT worker to "F**k off." They just need more help and we are supposed to ignore the behaviour. There has to be negative consequences for bad behaviour. If there isn't what reason is there for anyone to change? The positive work and rewards should follow on from the consequences.
This reminds me of the Parable of the Good Social Worker. I am sure you know it. A traveller is on the road from Wandsworth to Brixton. He is set upon by muggers and is beaten senseless, robbed of all his valuables and left laying in the gutter. Another traveller passed along the same road and saw the unconscious man laying there. Not wanting to get involved he crossed to the other side and walked on. A second traveller came by and did the same. Then a Social Worker came along. They saw the man laying unconscious and went over to them. "My God!" They said. "Whoever did this needs help." Then they hurried on their way to try and find them.