Tolerance of anti-social behaviour

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There is a decreasing tolerance of anti-social behaviour by the public, and the government has been keen to demonstrate a tough stance, as shown by the creation of 3,000 new offences in nine years.  New legislation is particularly targeted at young people and includes a range of measures including ASBOs and, in some areas, curfews.  There is also a growing awareness of anti-social behaviour caused by a binge drinking ‘culture’.

What are the implications?

  • Increased security and surveillance.
  • High profile measures to tackle anti-social behaviour may increase community cohesion by increasing feelings of safety in communities.
  • Low tolerance of anti-social behaviour may lead to higher perceptions of threat.
  • Civil liberties concerns have emerged around measures such as the naming and shaming of children with ASBOs.
  • Risk that too great a focus is put on enforcement of anti-social behaviour methods at the detriment of preventing anti-social behaviour.
  • Public spaces may become less diverse as behaviours deemed ‘anti-social’ such as skateboarding and rough sleeping are increasingly regulated.
  • Measures such as ASBOs may contribute to the criminalisation and marginalisation of young people, especially those living in deprived areas.
  • There is concern that ASBOs are being used disproportionately against groups that already experience discrimination (e.g. Black and minority ethnic groups and those with mental health problems) which will deepen marginalisation and create tensions.
  • This driver may have important implications for VCOs that work with young people, the homeless, and those with mental health problems.

Moving forward

VCOs are often able to reach and help give a voice to sectors of society, such as those responsible for ‘anti-social behaviour’ that others find ‘hard-to-reach’.

  • Does your organisation have a role in tackling the causes of anti-social behaviour?  Can you engage those who have been listed as anti-social?
  • Can you help facilitate dialogue between those seen as responsible for anti-social behaviour and the wider community?
  • Can you raise questions about what anti social behaviour is?

Want to know more?

The Respect Agenda 6 months on: How are we measuring up?

Published by: Ipsos MORI – the second largest research company in the UK.

Date: 2006

Format: PDF

What is it? A PowerPoint presentation detailing public perceptions of anti-social behaviour in the UK and the strategies put in place to deal with it. 

How useful is it? The presentation begins with a series of graphs outlining public perceptions of crime and anti-social behaviour, concluding that the public perception of anti-social is worsening. It then goes on to look at why this is the case, and suggests that deprivation levels of a particular area play a significant part. Five other factors are put forward as influencing perceptions of anti-social behaviour. The remainder of the presentation looks at the Respect Agenda strategies put in place by the Government to tackle anti-social behaviour and how these strategies could be changed in order to obtain greater public support.

Other comments: Unfortunately the presentation does not include a bibliography.

Young People And The Media

Published by: Ipsos MORI – the second largest research company in the UK.

Date: 2004 and 2006

Format: PDF

What is it?  Two analyses of local and national press were carried out in 2004 and 2005 to explore whether youth representation by the media had changed.

How useful is it? In the first analysis, the general picture being painted in the press was one of violent young men. This was found to be in contrast to the reality – only a minority of young men have come into contact with the law. The second analysis in 2005 established that stories about youth in the media are still overwhelmingly negative though there was some improvement on the 2004 figures.

Other comments:

‘ASBO culture’ making kids criminals

Published by: IPPR.

Date: 2007

Format: Web

What is it?  A press release based around a forthcoming report on anti-social behaviour.

How useful is it? The article reports on the high rate of youth crime experienced by the UK and argues that the governments high-profile Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) are ineffective at tackling the problem, and in some cases, counter-productive. It then goes on to explore a range of other factors which play an important role in the development of young people, and which should be focused on in future strategies addressing anti-social behaviour. It recommends a number of potential initiatives.

Other comments:

Make me a Criminal: preventing youth crime

Published by: IPPR

Date: 2008

Format: PDF

What is it? Report examining the levels of youth crime and public attitudes towards crime in the UK and other comparable countries (Sweden, Germany and Finland).

How useful is this? This report examines the apparent evidence of the higher levels of sustained youth crime and antisocial behaviour in the UK compared to similar countries, and the attitudes towards these by the public, finding a higher level of public fear of crime and concern about youth behaviour than elsewhere. It argues that there have been mistakes both in the discourse around, and response to, young people, and argues for a more welfare-oriented, rather than punitive, system to tackle these issues.

Other comments:

Last updated at 11:13 Wed 19/Jan/11.


How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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