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Keeping Watch Of Cornwall's Curfew


Mary
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Dawn of the curfew and dusk is settling over the rooftops.

A couple of kids practice wheelies in the street, posing and posturing for the cameras, hoodies pulled up tight for greater effect. But mostly the atmosphere is calm.

 

Children are coming home quietly, parents hang on gates, everywhere it seems people are watching and waiting, wondering what will happen once the curfew begins.

 

By and large the reception is positive; there is a consensus here that something needs to be done.

 

"Enough is enough" we are told again and again, "we simply cannot live like this".

 

They describe children as young as five out until the early hours, teenagers passed out drunk in the road, stones through windows, cars vandalised, spitting, swearing, relentless abuse.

 

If their children now find themselves subject to the curfew, their parents say they know exactly how they feel: afraid to go out after dark because of what is going on outside.

 

Anti-social behaviour has imposed its own effective curfew on this estate.

 

The police patrol in pairs, some accompanied by the council's Anti-Social Behaviour Co-ordinator wearing a headcam to gather evidence.

 

Journalists take it in turns to accompany patrols, clamouring and tripping over each other in the scramble to document the first child being challenged.

 

But when it happens it's low key; the girl hasn't been causing any trouble, she's just out with a friend after curfew. The Police Community Support Officer phones her mum - it turns out she didn't know where her daughter was planning to go.

 

"I'd get yourself home" PCSO Paul Ferris tells her, "I think your mum's going to want a word".

 

"It's just a return to old-fashioned policing," neighbourhood beat manager Sergeant Jason Adams explains.

 

"When I was a beat cop in Glasgow in the early days we'd stop and speak to the kids, ask them how they were, what they were up to, what's going on.

 

"The main thing for us is making sure they're not at risk and likely to become the victims of crime, or to be getting involved in anti-social behaviour."

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