FEATHER ruffling Tory councillor Tony Mannion says the scourge of yob plagued Rotherham will not go away until the Government and council use the law to force parents to keep their kids in check.
And he called for the scrapping of youth shelters–popular with the police and youth workers–branding them “a magnet for trouble and little better than under-age drinking dens.”
The Sitwell ward councillor, a father himself, was responding to last week’s Advertiser stories about two families driven to despair by young hellraisers.
He revealed that fed up families living in the Maynard Road area–regarded as a “respectful neighbourhood”–were calling for the closure of a play area, opened five years ago, which had become a lure for unruly kids.
Complaints include damaged cars, homes attacked and broken windows. One man who threatened to phone police was told his car tyres would be slashed and his windows smashed.
Recently when police rounded up the youngsters and took them home, they found that “significant numbers” had travelled from as far away as Treeton and Maltby to cause trouble.
Cllr Mannion said: “I have found that people don’t actually like play areas. It’s not the play areas themselves they object to, but the accompanying youth nuisance that goes with them when evening comes.
“Police have suggested building a youth shelter at Maynard Road. While 75 per cent of people are against the play area, a solid 100 per cent are against a youth shelter.
“Youth shelters become a magnet for trouble and little better than drinking dens.
“If we want to get youngsters off street corners, better youth clubs are fine–bedrooms with computers, too. Inviting friends round for an evening in at home under the watchful eye of responsible parents is another way.
“Expecting police to deal with troubled areas is not a lasting solution. Kids will fade away when the police turn up, but then they come back.
“I want a long term solution. I want to see better and more responsible parenting.
“I have had reports of parents dropping their kids off at street corners where youngsters congregate in the evening. They become the parents of kids who see nothing wrong with kids hanging around street corners.
“Not until the council and the Government get together to force parents to look after their children properly, giving them good values and examples to follow, will we see an end to anti social behaviour.”
Cllr Mannion added: “Kids are not born bad. But there is such a thing as bad parents and until we get to grips with that problem, the best we can hope for in dealing with anti social behaviour is shifting it from one area to another.”