The most topical and emotional subject engaging the attention of your letter columns is certainly noise nuisance from loud music in neighbourhoods of towns and villages on the coast. Reports on the ineptitude or indifference of the police in dealing with the problem have been frequent and it was gratifying to read, some time ago, that the Minister of Home Affairs had expressed the view that the police should seize the equipment of the offenders as the surest way to curb the nuisance. But, I wondered with good reason, who would seize equipment if the offenders were the police?
In this country we have not yet developed a standard measurement to determine the limit at which the sound of music, irrespective of its quality, would be deemed intolerable in the public domain such as on the streets or at parties. At present this depends on the judgement of society which in turn rests with the quality of civic leadership we may have in this respect. This seems to have been left to police discretion. But there are guidelines such as the proximity of hospitals, lecture halls, churches and homes for the aged and infirm where persons are wont to enjoy the modest pleasures of a cultured mind. This is where the character of leadership should be effective in interpreting and applying the police motto of ‘Service and Protection’ in all its operations. It would be quite wrong and callous to serve and entertain one group while at the same time failing to protect another, for then they would be thanked by one and disparaged by the other. The police are often in this dilemma and I am sure the Commissioner is well aware of this. He is considered to be the guardian of the public peace, armed with the law as his authority; but he does not make the law, and events do not depend on laws alone but upon the wishes and intentions of those who administer them. He should be assured of that respect which the human heart unavoidably feels in its reaction with those who neither wound their pride nor take aim at their happiness.