Do these Playmobil toys ‘glorify crime’?

Armed bank robbery and bike crash playsets criticised by parents and gun action group. So are they harmful or harmless?

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Playmobil has been accused of selling children’s playsets that “glorify crime”. The toys, that are part of Playmobil’s City Action series, depict a bank robbery and a bike chase. They’re recommended as suitable for children from the age of 4 and are stocked in major retailers including Toys R Us, Argos and Amazon.

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But some concerned parents have now complained, warning that the sets, which include robbers with dark sunglasses and guns plus a character who’s been in a road accident, are too “scary” for kids.

“A gun for a four-year-old is quite shocking,” concerned dad Trevor Johnson, 43, told the Daily Mail after he spotted both the sets for sale at the Tunbridge Wells branch of Toys R Us in Kent. “There is something a bit nasty about depicting a crime and it could then make it scary for kids going in to banks. It’s also a bit grim people being run over.”

A Kent mother, who asked not to be named, said, “It’s horrific. Toys should be about fun, not grim reality.”

One thing we couldn’t fail to notice is that the bank robber is a woman, holding a red tote shopping bag to put the swag in. Which is an interesting take on normal gender assumptions. We’re just saying…

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Meanwhile, Danny Bryan of Communities Against Gun and Knife Crime, which works to help youngsters avoid lives of violence, said they “don’t want to be encouraging young people to look at these sorts of things” as it sends out the “wrong message”.

But Playmobil says the toys teach children to recognise good from evil. “One thing our customer feedback tells us is that it is important that children can be taught, through play, the importance of recognising good from evil and ‘baddies’ from ‘goodies’, as well as understanding scenes from real life, such as accidents and emergencies,” Jamie Dickinson, Playmobil marketing manager, said. 

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“We fully support creating a safe environment for all children and would hope that in their own small way our sets deliver this in a secure, but believable, way.”

So what do you think of the toys? Would you be happy for your children to play with them?

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