Community Officers Bully Treehouse Kids “for their own safety”

A reprint of an article from The Herts Advertiser — Published in the United Kingdom.

Boys ordered to stop building tree house

A GROUP of young boys building a tree house in a St Albans wood were ordered to stop by Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) who confiscated their tools.

The action has angered a resident who was walking nearby and has branded the officers’ high-handedness another example of political correctness gone wrong.

Brian Lake, aged 71, a retired insurance broker who lives in Toulmin Drive just across the road from the wooded area at Batchwood where the tree house was built, said half a dozen 12-year-olds had collected struts of wood and nailed them together with old ladders for access.

Concerned for their safety, he inspected the tree house which was solidly built. He later climbed the ladder to the platform to check out its safety and found no problem.

But everything changed when the PCSOs arrived. Mr Lake said: “The boys were made to give up a hammer and an axe they had been using on the construction and told their parents could collect them later from the police station.

“It does seem a shame that they should be penalised for engaging in a bit of fun. OK there are risks involved but that’s life. Surely it’s better than sitting watching TV like so many overweight, couch-potato kids?”

He went on: “Are the happy innocent joys of childhood lost beyond recall? It seems that political correctness conspired to foil the boys’ adventure.

“I remember such activities as a boy, the sort of thing immortalised in Just William books and preferable to the unsocial behaviour of some youths.”

A police spokesperson said: “Our first concern was the safety of the group of children. Taking into account their age and the implements being used, which included an axe and a hammer, there was considered to be serious potential for harm. The PCSOs confiscated the tools to avoid any injuries being sustained.

I think this amounts to bullying in the name of making it illegal to hurt yourself. These kids will either learn to acquiesce, and the society they will perpetuate will suffer from inhibition and stagnation of personal autonomy. Or, they will rebel and likely be demonized. This kind of interference has no real positive outcome and I believe it is a great mistake to give power to such ‘community officers’ to bully children “for their own safety”.

For more information about the social consequences of neurotic child safety interventions see my previous blog entry which contains another newspaper article reprint titled “Safe…and Sorry: Are Child Safety Programs Turning Kids into Ninnies?”.