The 'Billy' in question stars in a recent post by Inspector Gadjet. Although he lives on the Swamp Estate in Ruraltown, I certainly recognise him and so I suspect do most probation officers. We're not told how old he is, but he still seems to live at home with his mum and he is the father of a daughter. I'm sure he turned up recently in episode 7 of the BBC three fly-on-the-wall documentary series 'The Lock Up' filmed at Hull custody suite. He was the small irritating young guy going on about 'needing to get out to see his bairn'.
'Billy' has 100 previous convictions and has just been arrested on suspicion of nicking a minibus FFS. I don't know about you, but I put that kind of offence in the juvenile pain-in-the-backside sort of category. What on earth might the motive be? Perhaps he wanted to spare his legs walking home? He was no doubt bored and it was opportunistic. He's obviously not very sophisticated because DNA left at the scene eventually took the police to his mothers door. He cooperated fully and we are told even volunteered the location of the DVD player taken from the dashboard.
According to Inspector Gadjet's thesis 'Billy' should be locked up for very long periods of time basically for being a pain-in-the-backside. I have a degree of sympathy because I'm sure it was 'Billy' who had a go at breaking into my car last year. First he smashed a window to try and get the door open, then left a spot of blood behind whilst trying to bend the top of the door and get his hand inside. He eventually discovered that my make of car has dead-locked doors and even if he had got in, being a SAAB the gear stick is locked into reverse. All very inept, annoying and ultimately pointless. Hopefully his eventual arrest will serve to remind him that he's not a very successful car thief and he either needs to get better or pack it in.
Of course 'Billy' is the product of his environment. He grew up in a community probably suffering second and third generation unemployment as all the unskilled jobs went ages ago. He will have failed at school and was probably excluded at about age 13, whereupon he started smoking and drinking cheap alcohol in earnest on the streets with all his similarly-excluded mates. Any youth provision will have closed ages ago and his drift into regular irritating crime and anti-social behaviour will have started. His offending history may well have been enhanced by being made subject of an ASBO and possibly even by elevation to PPO status where he would have been the beneficiary of a 'premium service' that ensured even quicker arrest.
Thankfully this 'Billy' doesn't seem to have got onto heroin.
So, what are we to do with 'Billy'? Well fortunately evidence and experience shows that he will eventually grow out of it. Even he will finally discover that his behaviour is a pain-in-the-backside and the inevitable girlfriend will certainly remind him at regular intervals. Indeed in all likelihood it will be her who eventually succeeds in providing 'Billy' with the structure, supervision and boundaries that his life has needed all along. Hopefully she will re-inforce all the positive work that the YOT and probation service will be trying to undertake with 'Billy'. Of course what would be best of all is that this young man grew up in a society where all this could have been avoided in the first place. But that's a wee bit radical isn't it?