29th January 2021

No respect for Police or authority, we have caused that too.

Children are not born with inherent criminal dispositions; it is a learnt trait; as clearly as a child who does not display a criminal resolve that is equally the product of learnt traits.

The starting point for accumulating these life traits is shortly after birth, progressing through things as necessary as feeding, ablutions, social interaction and an infinite number of other life fragments to form the traits that evolve; good or bad.

There would be very few if any parents who deliberately set out to instil a criminal bent into their children, although there are no doubt many parents who lack good parenting skills, through no fault of their own, who may contribute.

The importance of good parenting transcends the significance of all other skills of a child’s mother or father and a task for which there is no training or accountabilities.

Children do not learn to walk by themselves; they are nurtured and encouraged, guided and motivated by their parents. That process is a continuum for many of their formative years, teaching a myriad of skills and building a persona.

At a very young age, children are taught boundaries and the consequences of breaching them. “Do not walk so close to the edge you will fall over and hurt yourself”.

The common denominator in all of this is the repetitive nature of learning and the necessity, no matter the challenge, for encouragement and goal setting, with achievement recognised; boundaries are also necessary for their safety and survival.

The consequences of breaching the boundaries are the most effective deterrent, to avoid the rules being broken and the child or young person being hurt.

Remove the deterrent, and adverse outcomes occur.

Why sectors of or community, unfortunately in positions of power, are so determined to remove all consequences and deterrents from young people is a social disgrace and the young people for whom this is paradoxically allegedly designed to help end up the victims in the end.

Consistency is the key. The consistency needs to run through society from early childhood development, education, sporting organisations and other social activities, to policing and the courts. Instead of operating in the isolation of their perceived values, consistency across the board needs to be implemented.

A policy framework to achieve this would not be all that difficult.

The latest crime figures highlight that it is not the children or their parents, causing this phenomenon of children entering crime at the high end, but we as a society. They do it because there are no consequences; in their mind.

At least one presumption is not based on any empirical data in the Herald Sun Article of the 28th of January, the headline.

Kids graduating straight to violent crimes’.

We would argue that all this implies is that young perpetrators may not have been caught for a minor crime, and petty crime may not be given the focus and priority it requires. Like many social issues, this criminal activity must be targeted at the formative stage, not after the trait has manifested.

An unknown author once said, “Criminals and drug addicts are made by the time they are six years old”, there is some truth in this.

Young perpetrators not being dealt with for minor crime or anti-social behaviours with consistency and consequences lead to the learnt skills that create a serious crime bent.

A lack of respect is also a learned trait. The vast majority of children grow up through their formative years with little discipline and any form of consequence for crossing the societal boundaries on behaviour.

We have reached a stage where consequences or punishment are near taboo.

A recent experience where a young mother was rationalising in great detail with a toddler over behaviour in a supermarket aisle made me shudder as what that child may mature to be. A three-year-old has not the cognitive skills to process the tirade, and it was an absurd pantomime.

The traditional deterrent used by parents, “Do that, and you will end up in jail”, has long been debunked and nullified by the allegedly enlightened progressives and reinforced by the judiciary causing a lack of support and enthusiasm for parents and Police to take action on minor matters.

In our modern, so-called,’ informed society’ where fanciful ideologues rule, we need to re-examine our societal structure in a pragmatic way to reset and address these problems. Otherwise, the trends will continue and increase in severity and frequency.

We would also argue that our society relies on Police as the arbiter on behavioural standards, compliance with the law. The lack of respect for the Law and Police is a matter of grave concern and is part of the root cause of the current problems.

‘No perpetrator ever commits a crime if they think they will get caught.’

That is irrespective of age or the bungling stupidity of the rationalisation that a perpetrator may display.

On the issue of respect, it has to be learnt or taught the same as any other trait; it cannot ever be assumed, as the current approaches seem to favour.

The ideologues currently pushing for young offenders to have their crimes expunged are just feeding this phenomenon where young people interpret this as a free pass. Although the arguments are perhaps laudable to some, the irony is that it actually hurts the children that it is allegedly trying to protect.

The ideologues are so startlingly naive that they do not realise that peer pressure on young people would include the rationale that nothing will happen to them if caught because of their age. So, the progressives’ efforts are thwarted by this naivety, and underage perpetrators are therefore an attractive proposition for older crooks.

The young people this is designed to help do not read the newspapers or listen to debates in parliament when these things are dealt with but are influenced by social media where the authors of negative incorrect messages created by some ill-informed noggin heads are considered gospel.

We do know that the likelihood of a positive response from a young person is generally towards somebody they know or can relate too. Therefore, it is imperative that young people in their formative years are exposed to Police with whom they establish a relationship and learn there is a person in that uniform they can connect with. Where the boundaries stand, are as equally important as the consequences of breaching them— this interaction is critical in supporting parents and educators rather than in a contest with them.

These relationships are vitally important and essential if we wish to reign in (and protect) these miscreant children and achieve a level of respect for our laws or society norms.

It is time that policies are developed that are practical and effective, and the effort placed where it will have the greatest effect rather than, ‘tilting at windmills’ or ‘chasing rainbows’.

We can do without the Don Quixote approach currently in vogue.