Is being a child a criminal offence?

A long, long time ago, before most of my readers were born, I use to play ball in the street with my mates. I couldn't understand adults who complained about our play. What harm were we doing? What was wrong with having a bit of fun? Those adults who, when asked can I have my ball back? said NO and ranted about the damage caused to their Prize Dahlias appeared to be unreasonable, miserable and sad.

Occasionally accidents happened, a broken window, an adult hurt by a wild ball, a newly cleaned car dirtied, and there might be consequences if dad was told. Sent to bed, pocket money stopped or, in the most extreme circumstances, a smacked bottom. All such sanctions appeared unjust because we were just having fun.

My father, my grandfather, my great grandfather and all my ancestors back to Adam's lads probably went through the same experience of not understanding why adults complained about boys having a bit of fun.

Now that I am a Miserable Old Fart, I understand and sympathise with those long dead miserable old farts who complained about my ball playing on the streets and I can emmpathise with the residents of Penmaenmawr who complain about kids playing football by the Spar shop in the village.

However, what I can't understand is the attitude of the Police towards the kids playing ball on the street in Penmaenmawr:
YOUNGSTERS caught playing football on the streets of Penmaenmawr risk being arrested and could face a criminal record. .... "There is a specific offence for playing games in the highway causing annoyance to road users." ..... "This is an arrestable offence and from this moment on, this is the approach we will be using. ..."This behaviour can land them with a criminal record. It’s only fair to give them all a warning first that they will face arrest if caught again".
So a child will face arrest, a criminal record and prohibition for life from any job that needs full disclosure for playing ball on the street twice? What is the world coming to?

Playing ball inappropriately is not criminal, it is naughty. Naughty children should be dealt with at home or in school, not by the police and the courts.

When naughty children are treated as criminals, childhood is made into a criminal offence. And if just being a child is seen to be a criminal offence then there is no hope for naughty boys to grow up to be law abiding adults.

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