Curfews are spreading. Do they work? And what about human rights?

Start’ em young sounds fine in theory, but the idea of curfews for the under 10s seems a bit grim. Nevertheless, a new trial for a voluntary curfew in Redruth, Cornwall is being hailed as a success by some locals, and Conservatives searching for a Big Idea. Under 10s home by 8pm… OK… but under 16s tucked up by 9? Seems a tall order. And what’s the sanction if junior tells you to sod off? The days of a friendly cuff round the ear from PC Plod or even Dad are long gone. And note the human rights objections.

Yet here’s a record of an apparently successful curfew for under 16s in Tyne and Wear four years ago, but not renewed. I wonder what has happened since? Any Geordies out there who might know?

In NI, a compulsory curfew for youths is part of both the asbo culture ( tightened up by a new Order) and voluntary, as part of restorative justice. I haven’t been able to find a good account of either the thinking or practice of curfews. The new Order ( see 7.24) on curfew and electronic tagging has widened their use for people on bail and certain types of offender and some non-custodial sentences.

Aside from curfews imposed for offences after the event, the Assembly debated recommending curfews for learner drivers. in a bid to reduce the carnage on the roads. MLAs of course have no power to make justice and policing rules( ! ) But they can make recommendations.

Clearly curfews are a coming thing. Are restrictions on movements from ages below 10 to learner drivers effective for cutting down on yobbery, road accidents etc?

Has anyone got knowledge or direct experience?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

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