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Understanding Anti-Social Behaviour The Scottish Institute for Policing Research Room 2G14, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee Tuesday 31 st May.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Anti-Social Behaviour The Scottish Institute for Policing Research Room 2G14, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee Tuesday 31 st May."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Anti-Social Behaviour The Scottish Institute for Policing Research Room 2G14, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee Tuesday 31 st May 2011 Andrew Millie

2 What I’ll cover  2005: Research for JRF  2011: Recent political and policy developments – the ‘Big Society’

3 ...some publications  Millie, A. et al. (2005) Anti-Social Behaviour Strategies: Finding a Balance, Policy Press – free online!  Millie, A. (2009) Anti-Social Behaviour, Open University Press.  Millie, A. (ed.) (2009) Securing Respect: Behavioural Expectations and Anti- Social Behaviour in the UK, Policy Press.

4 Research for Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2005  Context: Policy focus on enforcement  Aim to develop principles for effective local and national responses to ASB  Through analysis of:  The views of the general public, and those living in areas of high ASB;  A national survey (by ONS)  The experiences and perceptions of ASB among practitioners and local service managers  Interviews and focus groups in three case-study sites – in residential neighbourhoods with high ASB

5 National findings  ASB has little or no effect on the quality of life of the majority of the population  E.g. 2003/04 BCS – 61% reported no bad effects from any of 16 types of ASB  But, ASB has a significant impact on the lives of a minority – particularly those living in areas of social deprivation and inner cities  A third of ONS respondents in inner-city areas thought ASB was high in their area  The general population tend to equate ASB with problems associated with young people …

6 Some national stats…

7 Some more national stats…

8 National findings  Logistic regression – Being aged 30 or under was a predictor that rowdy teenagers affected quality of life  Conversely, people of retirement age were less likely than others to be affected  We asked about methods of tackling ASB  ‘ preventive action to deal with the causes ’  ‘ tough action against perpetrators ’  66% opted for prevention, 20% for tough action, and 11% both

9 3 narratives of ASB emerged from case studies… Social and moral decline  Problems of ASB are seen as symptoms of wider social and cultural change – more specifically a decline in moral standards and family values Disengaged youth and families  ASB is rooted in the increasing disengagement from wider society of a significant minority of children and young people and (in many cases) their families ‘ Kids will be kids ’  ASB is a reflection of the age-old tendency for young people to get into trouble, challenge boundaries and antagonise their elders

10 The 3 narratives  If declining standards - assumes ASB is on the increase and will point towards tougher discipline and greater emphasis on individual responsibility  If social exclusion - again assumes ASB is increasing and will point towards inclusionary solutions  If ‘ kids being kids ’ - the more solutions will lie in patience, tolerance and diversionary strategies The 3 are not mutually exclusive …

11 The need for balance  Emphasis from local professionals - enforcement is only one element within a set of remedies needed to rebuild communities Bottom-up more than top-down?  Visible enforcement may provide the leverage, but community capacity- building measures will also be needed  In areas most beset by ASB, measures to counter the sense of powerlessness – and accompanying entrenched pessimism – are needed.

12 ASB and Cameron’s Big Society  David Cameron, 2010: “... where people, in their everyday lives, in their homes, in their neighbourhoods, in their workplace don’t always turn to officials, local authorities or central government for answers to the problems they face but instead feel both free and powerful enough to help themselves and their own communities.”  Who are these people?  Power? Becker’s moral entrepreneurs - various “crusading reformers”, campaign and lobby groups, industrialists, ‘experts’, media campaigners and politicians  Community consultation: those with greatest influence or loudest voice?  Stereotypes and metaphors for wider social concerns  Whose values, whose rights?  A truly big society would include all perspectives, including marginalized and powerless

13 ASB and Cameron’s Big Society Coalition – Big Society Bottom-up policy?  “as with so much [New Labour] did, their top-down, bureaucratic, gimmick- laden approach just got in the way of the police, other professionals and the people themselves from taking action.... the people who are closest to the problem need to be driving the solution” (Theresa May, 2010) Coalition proposals: A balanced policy?  Crime Prevention Injunction; Criminal Behaviour Order;  Community Protection Order; greater police ‘direction’ powers  But also restorative justice

14 Reasons to be cheerful? Chris Grayling (when Tory Shadow Home Secretary, 2009): “The vast majority of the teenagers who hang around in our communities are decent law abiding young people who are doing nothing wrong. Many acts which annoy are not acts of anti- social behaviour. There’s a real danger that we perceive a risk from groups of perfectly decent young people who are doing nothing more than hanging around and chatting. Then there is the low level antisocial behaviour which can be found in most areas. Where the perpetrators are a headache - but aren’t criminals in the making.” Theresa May (Coalition Home Secretary, 2010): “Where possible, [ASB powers] should be rehabilitating and restorative, rather than criminalising and coercive. But where necessary, they should be tough and provide a real deterrent”.

15 But...  Theresa May also says: “But where necessary, they should be tough and provide a real deterrent”.  Also, Tory’s view of the “underclass”  Duncan-Smith 2008: “[A] creeping expansion of this underclass: the way ‘decent’ people are sucked into and governed by the ‘code of the street’”  Who are these “decent” people?

16 The challenge...  The challenge will be:  To have a truly “big society” that respects all (including those not deemed decent)  To be rehabilitating and restorative, rather than criminalising and coercive  To resist temptation for “popular solutions”


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