End the Lie

New Wales law bans all under 16 years old from being in city center at night

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By End the Lie

Bangor, North Wales, UK circa 2008 (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A new law imposed on all individuals under 16 years of age in North Wales has banned them from being able to visit the city center between the hours of 9 PM to 6 AM without parental accompaniment, drawing some to compare the situation to North Korea.

For people in the United States, these types of ludicrous curfew laws and nonsensical enforcement – coupled, of course, with the drive to treat schoolchildren like criminals – are far from shocking.

However, it seems that this has drawn some heated criticism across the pond, and rightly so I might add, from individuals like Nick Pickles, the director of Big Brother Watch, a civil liberties campaign group.

“The idea you could be fined or imprisoned for walking through the town center simply because you are 15 and not accompanied by a parent is madness,” Pickles explained to the British Telegraph.

“To say that any under-16 year-old who is unaccompanied between 9pm and 6am is a criminal is the kind of draconian law you would expect in North Korea, not North Wales,” Pickles added.

Even the Children’s Commissioner for Wales called the newly imposed law in Bangor drastic and heavy handed, adding that it would “criminalize” all children and young people.

Local officials claimed that it was necessary to fight back against alleged public drinking in the town center and anti-social behavior which supposedly leads to older people being “intimidated or harassed.”

“Many people are working very hard to improve and regenerate the city center as well as just wanting to enjoy their daily lives without being intimidated or harassed. I have no doubt dispersal orders areas will assist in that endeavor,” Inspector Simon Barrasford claimed.

“This is a heavy-handed and ineffective way of combating anti-social behavior,” retorted Keith Towler, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

Oddly enough, police in Bangor claimed that violent crime fell by nearly 25% in the city after they passed a measure which eventually resulted in the banning of 110 individuals from the town center.

Yet, apparently that wasn’t enough and now they have to crack down on unidentified activities which supposedly lead to the intimidation of citizenry and leave them unable to go about their lives without being intimidated or harassed.

It is hardly surprising that these activities are not outlined in any concrete way since that would minimize their ability to continue to pass similarly laughable measures in order to pull in revenue.

Of course, if you couldn’t guess as much already, 16-year-olds caught in the “forbidden zone” over the next six months during the curfew hours could be fined either £2,500 (roughly $3,929) or jailed for as long as three months.

You read that right, if you happen to be fifteen and wander into the city center you could be fined more than most teenagers make throughout all of high school or spend as much as a whopping three months in prison.

As I have previously pointed out when discussing this trend of increasingly criminalizing children, this type of response only serves to further engender so-called anti-social behavior and criminal activity.

While these types of curfew laws are likely all too familiar to Americans who realize we no longer enjoy total freedom of movement, these types of banning orders are not all too common in England and Wales.

To highlight this, officials with the Local Government Association, which represents all local councils in both England and Wales, stated that they were not aware of a single other banning order which covered such a large area like a city center or town center.

“My son is 16, our local cinema is 25 miles away at Llandudno Junction,” explained Jo Owen, a parent in Caernarfon. “He wouldn’t be allowed to walk from the bus stop with these rules.”

Some unnamed critics cited by the Telegraph said that it could also harm constructive activities like youth clubs, sports teams and even churches.

This seems like quite a rational conclusion, as this would involve quite a large area and make it effectively impossible for any young people to engage in any activities – constructive or otherwise – after 9 PM.

Personally, I hardly think this is a fair trade-off. If the police really care about cracking down on criminal activity, they could always go out and actually do their job and catch criminals instead of just banning segments of the population from being in certain places at certain times.

After all, it hardly makes sense to claim that these same young people couldn’t just go right outside the affected area in order to carry out their same activities in order to avoid the hefty fine and potential imprisonment.

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One Response to New Wales law bans all under 16 years old from being in city center at night

  1. Anonymous June 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    This is fascism people. Just testing the waters to see what they can get away with. THREE MONTHS IN JAIL for simply being somewhere?


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