from www.stuff.co.nz | Monday, 8 October 2007
retiring Havelock policeman, Senior Constable Graeme Barsanti, says youths are out of control.
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.
"In the old days I have taken kids behind the building and given them a whack up the backside, taken them home to their parents, and the parents have asked me to whack them instead of the parents (disciplining them)."
Years ago, when working in Opunake in Taranaki, he would get young offenders to polish the fire engine in the main street.
Parents supported that because it meant they were not paying a fine, and the youngsters were being held accountable for their actions, he said.
These days, very few things were done as a family, said Barsanti.
"You don't see families going away together," he said.
"Kids aged 14 and 15 are going off and doing their own things. You've got to bring back respect, loyalty and some discipline."
Barsanti, who will turn 60 two days after his retirement, said he loved the job but had decided it was time to finish.
He has been on the Marlborough District Council since 1989 and is standing for re-election.
He is also standing for election for the first time to the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board.