`Don't walk on by' - it is easier said than done

JACK STRAW says people should not just "walk on by". But from the Yorkshire suburbs to inner-city Bermondsey, in south-east London, the view is simple: A man and woman fighting is their business, but save a dog at all costs.

Yesterday in Bermondsey Jenny Ellis, 27, an office worker from Central London, said she would hesitate before reprimanding someone for spitting at people from a bridge. "Someone could turn around and stab you. You could lose your life over something simple.

"If there was a man hitting a woman I would definitely intervene - but it would depend how tall the man was."

Kieran Pope, a 24 year-old scaffolder from East London, said a public- minded approach could stray into stupidity.

If a phone box was being vandalised? "It would depend on who was doing it," he said. "I wouldn't intervene if it could get me into trouble. The person could be a bit of a nutter. You don't know what people are like. If someone does that they are not all there."

He would almost certainly stop a man hitting his partner but would only stop a woman. "If she was stamping on his head with high heels then I would restrain her."

Sophie Kernon, a 23-year-old production company worker, from North London, said: "Racism makes me sick. I will verbally stand up against anyone being racist but when it comes to someone beating someone up I would hesitate because I am only a girl. But when the adrenalin starts to rush you don't know what you would do."

Would she stop a child spitting at passers-by? "I would probably laugh. Kids always do things like that."

In the Yorkshire commuter village of Horsforth, attitudes depended on the seriousness of the misdemeanour.

Sue Cheaton, 22, working in the village bakery, would not intervene if children were dropping litter or spitting. "It's not worth it. But if I saw someone kicking a dog I'd definitely react. People shouldn't cause pain for a laugh."

With phone box vandals, "it would depend on how many of them there were," she said. "A lot of kids these days get pretty violent. I've seen couples fighting and walked on by before. I felt guilty."

But a racist would be different. "Even if they look intimidating, I'd definitely intervene. Some things are not worth getting beaten up for, some are."

Anthony Scurrah, a former professional middleweight boxer, 6ft5ins, lean, muscular and tattooed, said: "I don't fear anybody, but kids are parents' responsibility and no parent should pretend he doesn't know what his kids are getting up to.

"For litter and spitting, I'd just think, `Idiots', but wouldn't bother saying more. If they were kicking a dog, it would depend. If the dog was yelping in pain, I'd ask them what they thought they were doing.

"If they were vandalising a phone box, I'd call the police on my mobile, and also say to them, `Come on lads'. I'd have to be wary about getting into a fight because of who I am, I'm reluctant to hurt people.

"A couple fighting and arguing, well, she might deserve to get hit, how do I know?

"In a racist attack I'd get in there straight away."

Jane Hollingsworth, 63, shopping in Morrison's store, said she would definitely `have a word' with people dropping litter, but not spitting.

"If they were hitting a dog I'd shout and call the police. Couples fighting I can't be dealing with, it's their business.

"If there were a racial attack, I would call the police."

We Asked...

Would you intervene if you saw:

Yobs spitting from a bridge on to passers-by?

Someone dropping litter?

A person hitting a dog?

Vandals damaging a phone box?

A couple having a fight?

White youths picking on a black youth?

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'