COLUMN: Respect the rights of your neighbours

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What annoys one person might be perfectly acceptable to another but there’s a big difference between respectful and nuisance behaviour – and most of us know when this boundary is crossed.

Summer can be a busy time for police and emergency services with incidents of antisocial behaviour, disorder and drink-fuelled violence typically spiking during the warmer months. Too much alcohol can make us lose our inhibitions and behave in a way that is totally out of character – and often this crosses the line into disrespectful or even criminal behaviour. There can be few worse hangovers than those which accompany waking up in a police cell.

As the barbecue season gets underway and schools close their doors for the holidays, our Blue Light workers really are depending on us to respect the rights of our neighbours, fellow partygoers and revellers and to make sensible decisions so we can enjoy a safe and trouble-free summer. It’s about using common sense but what is equally important is tolerance.

We all want our children to be out in the fresh air on a hot summer’s day. We want them to keep active by playing sports rather than being locked behind a computer screen. If it’s just a case of your peace and quiet being momentarily disturbed, have a think about whether the situation constitutes a serious breach of your rights. Sometimes a friendly word can make all the difference and resolve a situation peacefully. However, if the behaviour is having an adverse impact on your quality of life and you feel fearful or threatened by an incident, always contact police. There is specialist support available and robust action will be taken.

Parents face a difficult job during the summer holidays. As well as childcare issues, they have the tricky task of entertaining their offspring which can be an expensive business. Boredom breeds mischief and so I’m extremely grateful to those community organisations across Derbyshire which have devised summer holidays activities programmes to engage youngsters over the next few weeks and keep them focused and positive.

Parents are a vital policing partner during the summer, not only finding a positive outlet for their children’s energy but also helping them to appreciate the impact of unacceptable behaviour on others - whether this is cyberbullying or rowdy behaviour on the street. When children understand the perspectives of others, particularly vulnerable or elderly members of their neighbourhood, they’re less likely to get involved in situations that could cause others unnecessary fear or concern.

It’s also helpful to remind them that not everybody has six weeks off! Working people are up early for a full day’s graft and it’s by no means an easy task with little or no sleep!

There will always be those who act selfishly – adults and young people – but if we can encourage the majority to act sensibly and put themselves in the shoes of others, we’ll all enjoy a peaceful and trouble-free summer.