And would you keep your hands off your kids, too, thank you.

I had just more or less recovered fromt he sqirrel slaughter shock when I stumbled across the following bit of news: A man from Plymouth got himself in a bit of trouble with the police when he spanked his son on the bum for running off in the park. Now he demands an apology from the police for arresting him and examining the seven-year-old boy. Or, as you will, for doing their job after somebody who had seen him hit the kid filed a complaint.

Pretty outrageous thing for the police to do. How dare they.

Also, quite bold of the bystander to observe what may well have been an indicator of child abuse and not have the decency to turn away and keep their nose out of family matters, and leave the father to use the (however questionable) disciplinary measures of his choice in the privacy of a public park.

You may think a bit of spanking won’t do any harm to a kid. But even if the father only went for a mild(ish) punishment, how is a worried observer supposed to know? How can we be sure of the child’s safety after seeing such a scene if nobody intervenes? In this case, the boy was not injured and the bystander was said to have misinterpreted the situation. But if you see someone hit their child, where do you draw the line? A smack in the face? A bruised arm? A broken spine?

When Baby P died the nation all but cried “gallows” for those who should have seen the danger and failed to intervene. And now some concerned citizen and a bunch of officers with a sense of duty check a suspicious situation to make sure the kid is alright, and they have to apologize.

Dear father, if you don’t want to be treated like a child abuse suspect, you might want to consider not hitting your son in public.

Or, on a more general note – how about just keeping your hands off your kids anyway?

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