McDonald’s fast food restaurant in Newport is considering using classical music in an attempt to stop young people causing trouble in and outside the fastfood restaurant.
Last weekend police made several arrests of young people, some as young as 12 years old, following a serious of incidents in the vicinity of McDonald’s.
McDonald’s say they are considering the use of classical music and have also agreed to switch off their free WiFi from 4pm.
“Weaponising” classical music
According to Marie Thompson of the 21st Century Research Group, University of Lincoln, the “weaponised use of classical music” has been around for more than 30 years.
More recently, in 2013, a McDonald’s in Australia began playing classical musical and opera late at night to deter young people from loitering around the restaurant.
Last year in San Francisco a Burger King also joined in and started using classical music as a way to combat loitering and panhandling.
For those who enjoy classical music, there are just 22 seats left for next week’s Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra concert.
Egerton: “Feral and abusive”
Acting Sgt Martin Egerton, has been overseeing the crackdown in Newport told the CP,
“I know the town, I know the players and I know who’s causing the problems. It’s the same kids, the same faces.
“When you get large groups gathering it comes across as very intimidating. There were more than 60 on Friday night — all feral, abusive, threatening to fight the police.”
Bringing in officers
He went on to say,
“Fighting is one of the problems, and criminal damage. Kicking shop windows, for example. There are public order incidents too — shouting and swearing at people. Sometimes they have been drinking, but that’s not often the case.
“They know PCSOs can’t arrest them, they say, ‘you can’t tell us what to do.’ So we are bringing in officers from across the Island.”
McDonald’s: “We do not have an issue of anti-social behaviour”
A spokesperson for McDonald’s told OnTheWight,
“We do not have an issue of anti-social behaviour in our Newport, Isle of Wight restaurant, however we do work closely with the police and local authorities to address issues in the wider community.
“Along with other local businesses we have agreed to assist the police and, at their request, will be limiting the WiFi in the restaurant in the evenings and playing classical music until the end of the month.”
Plans to engage
Former youth work Darren Galpin is inviting others to join him tonight from 5.30pm in Costa Coffee.
He plans to have “dialogue with some of the youngsters, so we might better understand why all this group disorder is happening”.
He and others will also be attending next week’s full council meeting on Wednesday 16th to register their opposition to continued cuts to public services, which he feels is contributing to the problems being experienced on the Island.
Operation Varney is our response to anti-social behaviour in Newport’s town centre, including the Church Litten and bus station area in the centre of the town.
This is an ongoing priority for Newport’s Neighbourhood Policing Team and our colleagues in the Isle of Wight Community Safety Partnership.
If anti-social behaviour is affecting your quality of life, or making you fear for your safety or the safety of others, there are people who can help. You can contact the police, your local council Community Safety Department or, if relevant, your housing provider. These partner agencies have a role to play in reducing anti-social behaviour, supporting the most vulnerable and dealing with the people responsible.
Anti-social behaviour is an incident that may not necessarily be a criminal offence, where the behaviour of an individual or group causes or is likely to cause:
- Harassment, alarm or distress to any person, not of the same household
- Another party feeling personally threatened
- Creates a public nuisance or detrimental impact upon the environment
- Has a detrimental effect upon the quality of life of an individual or the community as a whole.
Advice for parents
If you have children under the age of 18 please help us by following this advice:
- Before they go out, find out what your children are doing, where they are going, and when and how they will be getting home.
- Sometimes children do not consider the consequences of their actions, so ask them to think about whether they could be causing distress to others, damaging the environment or putting themselves in danger.
- Often children do not need to buy alcohol, they take it from home without their parents’ knowledge. Keep alcohol in a safe place and keep a check on how much you have, so that you will know if any goes missing.
- Young people are also often the victims of disorder, so if you or your child experience anti-social behaviour, make sure you report it to the police. We cannot send officers to every incident, but if you let us know what is happening in your area, we can make sure our resources are targeted effectively.