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The ASBO-generation?: Young people and Community Policing in Dundee Dr. Donna Marie Brown University of Dundee.

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Presentation on theme: "The ASBO-generation?: Young people and Community Policing in Dundee Dr. Donna Marie Brown University of Dundee."— Presentation transcript:

1 The ASBO-generation?: Young people and Community Policing in Dundee Dr. Donna Marie Brown University of Dundee

2 Outline Research project overview Youth, ASB and Community Policing Community Wardens strategy Dundee case study findings Current issues/Future problems Conclusions Questions

3 Introduction SIPR-funded research (www.sipr.ac.uk) Comparative, qualitative project exploring (in)formal policing of youth Academic, policy and popular discourses around asb, youth, community policing and public space Theoretical, empirical and policy concerns Insights from Dundee case study

4 Context/Rationale Research background: social justice, public space and urban/social policy Emergence of new policing legislation and policing agents (since 1997) Contradictions in urban policy over public space, ASB and youth Call for deeper understanding of new forms of policing Attempts to fill a gap in evidence-based findings

5 Research Aim To examine the mechanisms and practices through which the ‘right to the city’ for youths is circumscribed and/or enabled through the actions of the multiple stakeholders involved in the formal and informal policing of the contemporary urban realm

6 Research Objectives To explore how youths are perceived by managers and regulators of the city To identify the key mechanisms adopted by different policing agents to control youth behaviour To investigate how youths perceive and use different public spaces To produce policy-relevant research and further understandings of police-youth relations

7 Research Methods Ethnographic research with Community Policing Team (Wardens as focus) Response to call for more empirical research (Fyfe and Bannister, 2006; Millie, 2007; Scottish Government, 2008) In-depth, high-resolution: walk-outs, participant observation and interviews Multiple stakeholders (including young people themselves!) Limitations

8 Problematising ‘Youth’ Socially constructed : biological and performative (Evans, 2008) Temporal, spatial, contextual elements years old (from practitioners) Young people as a risk rather than at risk (Crawford, 2009) Youths presence, not absence becomes the major concern

9 ASBOs Major political focal point, key policy concern Anti Social Behaviour Etc (Scotland) Act (2004): – ‘ likely to cause harassment, alarm, or distress to others’ Subjective and context-specific – determined by a series of factors including context, location, community tolerance and quality of life expectations’ (Home Office, 2004:3) ASB and ‘Respect’ Programme: – Governing ‘troublesome youth’ (Squires and Stephen, 2007; Crawford, 2009)

10 The ‘ASBO-generation’ Tabloid speak ‘yobs’, ‘thugs’, ‘louts’ (Burney, 2005) Characterisation of ‘Asbo-generation’ (Levkaik, 2005) Cresswell ‘out of place’ (1996) Need to understand consequences for youths use of urban space Lack of research in this area

11 Factors influencing youths use of urban space Personal: family, emotional, financial, taste, identity Physical: context, attractiveness, accessibility Formal control, management and regulation Informal control, management and regulation

12 Development of Warden Schemes March 2003: Scottish Executive’s ‘Building Strong, Safe, Attractive Communities initiative’ made £20m available (across 32 authorities) 2008: circa 500 Community Wardens

13 Community Wardens: National Guidance Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland: ‘an extra resource which provides a ‘reassuring presence to local people, promoting community safety and community development’ (HMCIC, 2006:25) Donnelly (2008): crime prevention and/or environmental improvement

14 Dundee’s Community Wardens 6 areas: Hilltown/Bowbridge, Lochee West/Camperdown, Douglas, Whitfield, Stobswell, Pitkerro (1 Senior and 4 Wardens per team) Remit: ‘Wardens work specifically to target low level crime and antisocial behaviour that gradually, over time, drags an area down’ (DCC, 2007) Role: – Community liaison – Safety and security – Environmental issues

15 Community Wardens High-visibility, circulation and quick response: reassurance policing Prevention through early intervention Intelligence gathering and data-sharing Joined-up working Community engagement

16 Improving police-youth relations Restoring broken relationships (Strang, 2009) Providing a visible presence of security A soundboard for problems and concerns Regular contact and trust Understanding criminogenic environments

17 Appreciation of need for...

18 Programmed use of space Environmental improvement e.g. Little Theatre Park Organised events – in consultation with young people – Examples: Dundee DISC football competitions Discos (with a range of community policing agents) Problem solving e.g. Kirkton Bingo

19 Programmed use of space ‘I love having something good to do’ (Roger, aged 15, 2008) ‘It’s great to give the kids something constructive to get involved in. It keeps them out of trouble’ (Community Warden, 2008) ‘At least now we have someone to talk to about our problems’ (Anna, aged 14, 2008) ‘It’s great to see the kids doing something they like’ (Alf, aged 70, 2008)

20 Evaluation of the impact and implementation of Community Wardens (2007) ‘There is evidence, from a number of sources, that the Community Wardens are having a positive impact upon the quality of life in their patrol areas. This comes about as they have helped to reduce both the levels and perceptions of some crimes and ASB...’

21 Appropriating space ‘’we’re not resisting, we’re just existing’’ (Alan, aged 16) Young people open up the ‘looseness’ of urban space (Franck and Stevens, 2006) Public space as being there for the taking (Mitchell, 2003) Constraints differ from space to space, and over or throughout time (Overgate Shopping centre)

22 Current issues/Future problems (1) Increasing powers: ‘Wardens derive their effectiveness not from the power they themselves possess but from the links and relationships they establish not only with local people but with local agencies’ (Scottish Government, 2007) Increasing powers would place them in a precarious position (Crawford, 2007)

23 Current issues/Future problems (2) Lack of funding: As the work of Community Wardens and the extended policing starts to pay off, money could be withdrawn Tackling deep-rooted issues which will very easily resurface Still ongoing issues and difficulty of measuring prevention

24 Current issues/Future problems (3) Representing diverse, heterogeneous ‘communities’: As Wardens establish ties, they need to avoid attending only to the needs of the highly visible or best connected Need to identify marginal and engage with them and their needs

25 Conclusions ASB rhetoric does influence and reinforce perceptions of youth in public space Such perceptions inform youth use (but in different ways) Need to be critical of raft of government policy (aims and outcomes) BUT Local implementation is important to acknowledge and account for (e.g. CW’s)

26 Conclusions To give young people a voice, medium and platform from which to speak Presents a range of problems for current structures (education, confidence etc) Need more research to understand everyday interactions (different spaces) Draw on models of best practice Think about challenges facing community policing

27 Questions or Comments?


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