Police visit mum after shop smack warning

A mother who warned her naughty children they may be smacked was followed home by an off-duty police officer and later questioned.

The incident happened while the mother, 34, was out shopping at a Southampton supermarket.

She had warned her children, aged eleven and four, that if they continued to misbehave they would get a “hiding” when they got home.

An off-duty police officer, who witnessed the telling off, then secretly followed them to the family home and two uniformed officers visited six weeks later.

When the police came to the home, they advised the mother to use a ‘naughty step’ or to withdraw treats as discipline instead of smacking.

The family later received a letter from social services which said no further action would be taken “at this time”, but added: “We would like to advise you that we do keep the information on record.”

The mother, who remains anonymous in order to protect her children, said: “It was an amazing intrusion. I was doing what parents should do, and what thousands do every week – setting moral boundaries for how children should behave.”

She also said: “If no one stands up to this oppression, this political correctness, parents will lose responsibility for their kids and the state will take over.

“The local authority have told me they’re keeping my family on record until my kids leave school, and my daughter is only four.

“If she ever falls over and has to be taken to hospital I’m worried about what conclusions they might come to. I feel I’m being kept on record as an abuser, so I will always be looking over my shoulder.”

Care, a social welfare charity, said: “One fears that it was a wholly disproportionate response to a threatened smack informed by the destructive and censorious views of those opinion formers who refuse to make a distinction between smacking, which can actually be very helpful, and beating which is a serious crime.”

Hampshire Police said: “An off-duty officer reported to our child protection team an incident involving a woman in Southampton, who they saw chastising her children.

“It was not an ordinary telling off and because of what the woman said and the way her children reacted, it gave our officer reasonable grounds for concern for the children’s welfare and that they may be at risk of physical chastisement.”

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