Youths and parental responsibility 

Matariki is upon us and along with the various celebrations, it brings a new public holiday for 2022. If you are taking advantage of the long weekend and going away, remember that car roadworthiness and a defensive approach to driving is key to arriving at your destination safely.

You will have all seen reports of the recent fatal crash that occurred near Nelson. Such tragic crashes happen all too often, including in our district.

Last week my colleague and I responded to a report of a vehicle driving dangerously northbound between Tirau and Cambridge. As is often the case, locating and stopping the car highlighted other offending including a vehicle not up to WOF standards, a breach of court bail conditions plus the presence of illicit drugs and ammunition.

The driver is now being dealt with through the court. Stopping this vehicle also almost certainly prevented a crash.   The person who called police was visibly shaken by the situation as she held genuine fears that the vehicle would lead to a serious crash happening in front of her.

She had already observed it to have two near misses while on the highway. Calling in dangerous driving to 111 when it is happening and sooner rather than later is so important to helping reduce our road toll.

Last week I spoke about youth crime and asked parents to be aware of where their teens were and with whom they were hanging out. The day after my column went to print was a teacher only day for Cambridge, resulting in many families having to make arrangements for care of their school age children.

That day I found myself responding to a disorder job, reported as involving up to 15 young people made up of two groups, running through aisles and trying to fight in one of our local shops. Disappointingly the youth in this case appeared predominantly aged 10-13yrs.

Legally, a child under 14 years of age must be under supervision. At 10-13 years, being left to roam the town and parks with their friends for an indeterminant period of time, does not equate to adequate supervision. Children are inherently vulnerable and do not have the life experience to handle challenging situations.

As in this case, a lack of supervision can also lead them to get up to no good. While children over 14yrs can legally supervise those younger, it remains the parent or guardian’s responsibility to ensure there is a proper level of care. Please ensure you plan ahead for the July school holidays childcare. We need your community support, especially from parents, to help reduce youth crime.

Still on the topic of youth, we regularly have reports of children becoming victims of cyber-bullying, most often through messages sent by peers or older youth.  Cyber-bullying means that old school playground bullying follows the victim wherever they go and can have lasting and damaging emotional and physical effects.  Visit netsafe.org.nz for tips on how to keep your children safe and how to report it should it occur.

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