I will not take my son to the police. Instead, I will make him go back to the shop where he stole the bottle of water from, pay for the item and apologise for his behaviour. I will then set him up for voluntary work in a homeless shelter to show him how good his life is compared to the people who stay there and how bloody spoilt and irresponsible his behaviour was when stealing the water.
This is no matter for the police I think, they better be catching bigger thieves, though what the son has done is completely wrong and unacceptable of course.
It would depend somewhat on the circumstances - did he actively seek out the riot area intending to damage property or steal, or was he just passing and took advantage on the spur of the moment? I'd also be more likely to turn him in if he had a previous record of stealing or antisocial behaviour, than if this was the first offence that I knew of.
I agree with the other Emma above, that sentences have become out of proportion to offences in some cases and I'd be worried about the risk of a disproportionate jail term, when community service would be a more appropriate punishment for this type of offence.
I'm quite shocked by the poll results so far . I would tell him to give himself up and if he didnt I would hand him over, he is an adult and needs to face the consequences of his actions. If the punishment seems too harsh, then I would help him appeal, but that should not affect my decision. To do otherwise would make me party to his crime.
'stealing a bottle of water' I don't really see the connection to a riot. if the question was set light to a building or asaulted the Police, then yes, but a 50p water? if caught shoplifting under normal circumstance what would they do? probably let them off anyway.
This was tough. He needs to be held accountable, but a criminal record is a stain that follows you for life here in the states. I'd rather not turn them in to the police and punish them myself and add that if that happens again, I will turn them in. I can only hope this is an effective compromise.
I personally don't think that some of the sentences being handed out for what, in other circumstances, would be relatively minor offences are particularly fair or just. Had you marched someone down to the police station a month ago for stealing a bottle of water and told the police what they had done, they would probably have just had a word and maybe at a push issued for formal caution - especially if it was a first offence. Now, while doing this in the context of a riot is slightly different, I do not feel that this difference justifies the disparity between a caution and a 4-6 month prison sentence.
So, if I thought they were going to be treated more 'fairly' in relation to other similar offences and not charged and sentenced more harshly that they otherwise would be due to the media and government pressure , then my answer may have been yes and not no, however given what is happening, I don't think ruining someone's future job and life prospects over this something I would willingly do to my own child. I would however, be taking my own actions against them in addition making it very, very clear what could have happened had I taken them to the police.
He's 18 - and if he chose to get involved in the riot mentality, he should suffer the consequences. Even if it is just a bottle of water, he was still stealing - so should be punished by the law.
I would like to think that I would punish the thief myself in some way. Probably take a possession off of him/her or restrict/cancel his/her access to telephone or web.