Misbehaving teens need better discipline, cop says

The Press 8 October 2007
Police are powerless to make youths accountable for their actions, says a retiring officer. Senior Constable Graeme Barsanti, of Havelock, will end 39 years in the police on October 19. He said more respect and discipline were needed. Barsanti told of seeing two boys, 14 and 11, on skateboards who nearly hit a woman on the main street of Havelock. He told them to take more care and to be more respectful of older people. “Their words to me are unprintable and because of their age I could do nothing,” Barsanti said. Two days later, the boys yelled foul language across the road to him and members of the public heard, he said. “When I approached them and their parents, they used the same foul language to their parents and said, `You can’t do anything to me’,” Barsanti said.”To me, the parents have a right to deal with their kids and I should have a right to hold them responsible for their actions.” Although he could take young offenders’ names and refer them to Youth Aid for a family group conference, bureaucracy had gone wrong, he said. “There was nothing I could do and the parents were scared to discipline their children because they could be done for assault,” he said.