Monday, March 26, 2007

Debate on teenage drinking in Moseley

I was wondering if we could has a discussion about the teenagers of Moseley and what they do on a Friday and Saturday night. At moment we have large grouping of teenagers in Moseley which is causing some concern with local residents and the police. What I want to do is reduce this stress, which is acceptable to local residents, the police, the teenagers and their parents.

Just to give some background to how this has arisen. Due to popularity of the MySpace website it is now very easy for teenagers to arrange to meet. 20 years ago, a teenager would go door knocking on their friends houses and, hey presto, you have 5 teenagers hanging around the street corner.

Move forward to today and a teenager sends out a MySpace bulletin saying “let’s all meet here” and the next thing you have is a crowd control situation. In the case of St.Phillips Cathedral grounds this can result in 200+ emo’s (modern day Goths) suddenly appearing; in the case of Moseley this can result in 40+ teenagers appearing on either a Friday or Saturday night.

The teenagers do NOT cause any problems. If you talk to them they are very polite, articulate, intelligent and really, really nice kids. What’s causing some stress with local residents is the large grouping of these teenagers (people wonder if a fight is about to break out) and the fact that some of them are drinking alcohol. The teenagers are aged 14 to 17 years old

The police have started confiscating the alcohol from the teenagers, since drinking alcohol in the streets of central Moseley is forbidden.

This is where I would like a debate of what we want to do with these teenagers. As I say they are really nice kids and I personally would rather they stayed in central Moseley where they are safe. I don’t want them hanging around places where they will annoy residents (eg Moseley Hall hospital grounds or Moor Green Lane fields) or in places they are not safe (eg Highbury Park). BUT they are drinking alcohol, and smoking tobacco, and teenagers under the age of 18 are not allowed in pubs, or allowed to drink alcohol.

Talking to the teenagers what they want is somewhere they can meet, drink alcohol and smoke. It would be good to know if the teenagers reading this agree with this statement

So what do we do?

I’ve talked to Youth Workers and other Youth groups, but they seemed to be geared towards dealing with teenagers who have anti-social behavior problems or come from disadvantaged backgrounds. None seemed to be geared towards dealing with ‘nice teenagers who merely want to socialise’.

The Moseley Street Wardens have suggested the creation of a pavilion, but again we hit the drinking of alcohol issue. The teenagers will drink alcohol and my fear is that I end up with the parents knocking on my door claiming I’m making their teenagers into alcoholics.

I would be interested in others views and innovative ideas.


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