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Thursday, 11 March 2010

Taking anti-social behaviour seriously


"Denis O'Connor said the failure to properly record and tackle incidents undermined confidence in the police, and called for urgent improvements." This is a quote from the BBC news website about the the headline story that police are not dealing with anti-social behaviour adequately.

BBC, Telegraph, have the most comprehensive reporting of the story. Unfortunately the report the story is based on does not appear to be available on line yet. According to the Telegraph report the Metropolitan Police in London are rated as "good".

There are number of quick points I wish to make.

Firstly pointing out that as Denis O'Connor is responsible for this evaluation, as Chief Inspector of HM Constabulary, it carries huge authority. Denis O'Connor, when Chief Constable of Surrey in 2001, was responsible for championing first Reassurance Policing then Neighbourhood Policing.

I come back to a quote that I have used in a previous blog about trust in crime statistics

"People’s perceptions about crime are influenced by the anti social behaviour they observe locally. If the notifiable list were to be reduced (paragraphs 75 to 83), then even less anti social behaviour would be reflected in the national crime statistics. Distrust of the national figures might therefore increase."

The full references can be found here.

The reason why anti-social behaviour is not properly and systematically recorded by police and government is because neither take it seriously enough. It is also worth pointing out that a significant portion of antisocial behaviour legislation is also the responsibility of Local Authorities, some in conjunction with police such as Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and some exclusively such a noise nuisance.

The reason why tackling anti-social behaviour is so important is because when it becomes something that a person cannot avoid because it affects their home, travel to work/school etc. then it leads to worry (see the PAW model). People perceive that police are not doing enough to tackle the problem and this leads to reduced confidence in the police.

The BBC and newspaper reports highlight the tragic case of Fiona Pilkington where the affects of anti-social behaviour on an individual were devastating. There are also important implications for communities. That is why I have included a diagram that simply indicates how anti-social behaviour (incivilities, civic environment) has wider affects. This from Ed Morrison's blog which can be found here.

1 comment:

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