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Should the youth respect the police?

DEBATE: Should the youth respect the police?

EACH WEEK we ask two writers with contrasting opinions to debate the question...


When you go on a night out, at least from my experience, it’s becoming less and less unusual to see some absolutely ‘wasted’ bloke being dragged away by police for some form of alcohol-related violence. Now, what if they weren’t there to detain him?

Young people love going out and partying but they don’t seem to appreciate the protection actually offered to them by the police. If for no other reason than that the police allow youngsters to have so much fun, in such a safe environment, we should and must respect them.

Now, I completely appreciate that many young people don’t agree with the laws that govern our society; but this is not the police’s fault, nor is it their responsibility to change them. They just enforce the laws we, as a representative democracy, vote for. If you don’t like it, then you should vote for those who also don’t like it – and that’s how things will change. Your distaste is not justification for disrespecting the police.

Aside from that fact, I know plenty of officers that are genuinely lovely individuals. The police’s apparent aims (as a whole organisation) are fundamentally positive: making life safe to live.

In Britain, perhaps as a result of our culture, young people seem to see it as cool to disrespect the police. They just don’t appreciate how lucky we are to have the sort of police we do.

Yes, people talk about ‘kettling’ and ‘stop and search’ policies as evidence of an over powerful police, but actually you should compare these mild and temporary infringements of freedoms to the way other police forces behave in countries all around the globe.  We should offer the police all the respect they deserve, as they put themselves on the line to ensure our safety.



As a member of my generation I can speak on behalf of every young person in the UK that the way the Metropolitan Police choose to handle matters in relation to young people is absolutely disgusting!

The police have no respect for the future generation. They treat every young person especially black males aggressively, labelling them as ‘hooded youths’ as if they’re all a part of the same gang.

The police love to enforce their power on the young, by exerting their policies and reciting quotes off the rulebook. Sometimes I have to question the mannerisms and attitudes of a police officer these days, because of the things I have witnessed growing up in London.

Racial profiling and stop and search are prime examples of how many young people today feel they are targeted and victimised by the police, by the policies that they have put into place in our society. Many of us still question if the police are in fact racist in their views. I know when I look back at the case of Stephen Lawrence in the 90s, how is it that we have only just seen some justice in 2012? Do the police really respect the young and those that come from ethnic minority backgrounds?

Look at the 2011 riots for example. Not every young person was involved in that drama yet the media and the police didn’t feel any way about categorising every young person as violent, abusive, even to the extent of labelling them as criminals.

I disagree with the opinion that there is a growing culture of young people thinking it is ‘cool’ to disrespect the police. This certainly isn’t the case. I think the only way that the police can gain respect from young people is if they change their attitude and give respect in return. They have to earn it the same way as they expect to receive it.

Authority means nothing to young people if you do not treat them with respect as young adults.

The police need to stop patronising and inflicting unnecessary attitude when they are speaking to the younger members of our community. We can all agree that the relationship between young people and the Metropolitan Police is slightly strained.

The police must work alongside youth organisations in order to improve their future relationships. Until then, why should the youth respect the police?

The 'Head to Head' column is by the London 360 reporters. To find out more about what our reporters are up to go to WE ARE LONDON!

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