THE breakdown in respect for authority, the abuse of police officers, the attacks on firefighters lured out by burning wheelie bins then bombarded with half bricks, is the result of parents being prevented from physically disciplining their children.

No parent wants to smack a child and never in anger, but the threat most times would be enough.

However, middle class parents, with a high opinion of their opinions, who brought up their offspring without the threat of smacks oblivious of the fact that all kids, as with all adults, vary immensely and some youngsters as, with some adults, need discipline.

The consequences of making smacking illegal, as with many things, did not manifest itself immediately and by the time it did the rot had set in.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, is rightly taking a firm approach.

Harold MacKenley, Cockfield