Youths drinking at all hours

Cromwell Sergeant Simon Paget says he is appalled by the number of young people, some as young as nine, found by police unsupervised and drinking alcohol into the early hours of the morning in the town.

Mr Paget, who started at the Cromwell police station as officer in charge on September 18, said since starting he was disappointed by the number of young people staff have dealt with wandering the streets "unaccompanied, unsupervised, often drinking alcohol late at night into the early hours of the morning".

"The majority seem to be aged 14 to 15 years but we have recently dealt with kids aged as young as nine.

"It is simply not acceptable," Mr Paget said.

He warned that if police found anyone under 17 out late at night and in a situation where they may be at risk they would uplift them and return them to those who have care of them, or to a social worker.

"In either case we will be asking for and recording an explanation," he said.

He urged parents who needed help with a difficult teenager to contact police.

"We have a multitude of resources and can refer you on to those who will equip you with some great tools to use," he said.

Sergeant Daves Greaves, of Alexandra, said there had been a "noticeable spike" in youths wandering the streets in Alexandra at night about three months ago.

However police had put an emphasis on stopping and talking to young people and and it was not seen as an ongoing issue, he said.

Cromwell Sergeant Simon Paget's simple rules for parents to follow:

  • Know where you teenagers are. Is he/she staying at a friend's? Then you should be confirming this with the respective friend's caregiver and establishing some ground rules.
  • Set some boundaries. Tell your teenager when you expect them home, set standards of behaviour.
  • Research tells us teenagers want and need boundaries . . . Yes, I know they will argue, but you are the parent, not a negotiator. YOU get to make the rules. WE are here to support you. Have consequences if the rules are broken.
  • Follow up with sanctions for bad behaviour.

The Southland Times