It is easy to be blissfully unaware of danger and trouble when you do not know it exists. We trust that everyone understands common or basic rules about living in a growing multi cultural society. But sometimes events happen that take us by surprise, even more than we thought it was possible.
Living outside of London I have thankfully been away from the majority of the trouble and relatively unaffected, although it is still a worry as I have my brother living there with his partner. It was not until the rumours started and gossip spread that it became closer to home for me. First of all it was the not knowing and then came the relief when I heard it was a rumour. Sadly then came the doubt when I heard from people I trusted and loved that they had come close to the danger in areas that were being reported as clear and no trouble taking place. Then came a feeling of disbelief and a feeling of being let down that I had not been able to receive the information to be aware of the danger.
With the recent riots there has been a lot of speculation about the causes? is it bad parenting? is it the poverty level? is the effects of government cuts? My favourite is Grand Theft Auto this game has been described as a cause for anti social behaviour?.
Working with young people it has been a hard week listening to people’s views and often very strong views about what should happen. It is easy to understand why some people have these strong views. And I share their anger and disbelief as it is always needless that people should lose their lives to mindless violence. It is also horrible when part of history is destroyed and lost forever, or people’s businesses that have been created and developed over many years.
But it is important to remember that this trouble does not represent all young people or our next generation and that all young people should not be viewed in this way. To do so will further create a divide between generations creating further fear and animosity making it harder for hard to reach young people to be engaged and accepted within society.
What it does need is greater joined up working now with the Police, Social Services and Youth Offending Teams and Charities to engage these young people and provide projects, opportunities one to one work to prevent gang activities and dependence. And more importantly develop a resistance to No, I don’t want to be involved in your behaviours.
This will require support and funding and Big Society will be a start but it will not provide the specialist skills and knowledge required to help these young people.