CHARLES BANNERMAN: What can be done to hit brakes on boy racer pestilence in Inverness?
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The Scottish Government seems to believe that, by 16, the human brain has developed sufficiently to vote.
But when it comes to crime, full cerebral capacity doesn’t appear to kick in until 25, hence all these murmurings about softer sentences for younger criminals.
So while they seem to think that 16 year olds are quite able to root out all the disingenuous, self-serving nonsense peddled by politicians of all colours, these same politicians seem to think that distinguishing simple right from wrong takes much longer.
I’ve been prompted to revisit the notion of adolescent brain development, or in this case the lack of it, by the epidemic of boy racers inflicting themselves on Inverness. Oh, this pestilence has always been around but seems to be getting far worse as summer progresses.
It’s abundantly clear that there’s something missing within these irritating garden gnomes in baseball caps, quaintly peering over the steering wheels of the frequently decrepit four-wheeled sandwich boxes that they thrash about the place.
Thunderous exhausts seem to be how they compensate for whatever that life deficiency is, and these exhausts and backfires presumably also act as some kind of comfort blanket.
There’s something deeply Freudian about boy racers. But if it’s brain development that’s lacking, they may at least eventually grow out of it, although there’s always a new intake ready to take over.
Then there are the real tragic cases, those Peter Pans of the road, typically into their 30s but still lost boys who have never grown up, persisting even at that age with going stone daft in Santa’s present from last December.
It’s easy to have a really good laugh at some of this idiotic behaviour, except that it’s deadly serious. The driving is dangerous and reckless and the noise levels are completely unacceptable in any peaceful community.
These pathetic, immature, attention seekers are a major social nuisance and the pestilence needs to be stopped. If the establishment are as keen as it seems to be anti-motorist, why can’t they put boy racers at the top of their list?
I’m quite sure the police are doing their best to support the public against this antisocial behaviour, but have they ever tried popping out from behind a bush on the Southern Distributor Road with a speed gun and video camera as midnight approaches?
That could yield a rich harvest of speeding tickets, ASBOs and cars carted off for noise evaluation.
I do believe, though, that legally it’s not entirely straightforward to crack down on these ridiculous, backfiring exhausts.
One issue is probably police time. Police Scotland simply don’t have enough officers to support society’s needs, as I recently found when it took me 16 hours to contact one in this city of 60,000 people.
Our police officers are highly professional but they, and the public, are being dreadully let down by inadequate resourcing.
So, given everything they have to deal with, is it more in hope than expectation that we can look to this ever thinner blue line to rid this city of its boy racer pestilence?