Evaluating diversionsfrom Anti-SocialBehaviourThe Anti-Social Behaviour Research Group atthe University Centre Blackburn College
The Crime & Disorder Act 1998introduced „ASBO-mania‟ as:“headline writers seized upon the term withgusto. A mini-industry flourished selling T-shirts, hoodies and even babies playsuitsemblazoned with Asbo-related slogans.”(Kelly, 2012)
But the term was poorly defined andlack of detail led to excessive andinappropriate use.Examples: “love-making, putting up risqué signs, free running, singing, setting up a pirate radio, begging and not paying a restaurant bill” (Morris, 2012).
UCBC Criminology students studied .diversions from ASB as provided byBlackburn Rovers Community Trustand the organisation STREETS.Small teams were formed in order toassess perceptions of ASB in sevenareas of Blackburn with Darwen.This enabled comparison with thenational picture in the British CrimeSurvey.
Perceptions were acquired from:239 local residents plus 42 detailedinterviews,100 business representatives,130 Blackburn Rovers fans and50 young people plus 50 recorded hours ofobservations.A full STREETS programme was alsoobserved for 25 hours.Levels of ASB in places no longer receivingdiversionary work from Blackburn RoversCommunity Trust were also researched.
In order to get beyond the „sensational‟ thestudents inquired into perceptions of sevendifferent types of behaviour:1. teenagers hanging around on the streets2. vandalism, graffiti and other deliberatedamage to property or vehicles3. using or dealing drugs4. drunkenness or rowdiness in publicplaces5. rubbish or littering6. noisy neighbours or loud parties7. abandoned or burnt-out cars.(Parfrement-Hopkins and Hall, 2009)
Students as producers of thesocial world they live inThe UCBC students researched the work ofBlackburn Rovers Community Trust in sevenareas of Blackburn with Darwen.They noted that an offer of free services weremade to young people residing in seven differentvenues across the Borough that totalled 19,200hours per year.They also noted the engagement from youngpeople with a variety of ages and different socialand ethnic backgrounds.
“[I’d be] just walking round thestreets, playing footy or something onthe streets if I wasn’t here”“No, there’s never any trouble here. Iknow most of the people that attend -they are all from the estate.”“If I wasn’t here I’d probably be smokin’weed. I’d be getting smashedsomewhere if you want the truth.Probably stuck in a fight somewhere.”
Research Findingsthe supervised sessions of additional physical activity for young people that amounted to a total of 9,600 hoursthe progression of four young people from attendees into coaching and supervisory rolesthe weekly attendance of over thirty young people at each venue
There was more…the input of advisory agencies and over 700 hours of open access to computers and games consoles through Click at the BRICthe regular sharing of experiences and forms of good practice by Community Trust staffa clear reduction in the number of recorded ASB incidents in the different areas
Consider the evidence?Whilst Street Soccer was taking place in the seven areas it was discovered there had been a total reduction of 144% in reported ASB incidents.In the only one of the Borough‟s seven areas not to have received any Street Soccer provision in 2011- 12, it was found there were an extra 404 reported incidents compared to the previous year when it was available.
Or imagine a bigger andbetter society?Following their „win‟ in the 2010 general electionthe government proclaimed their “drivingambition: to put more power and opportunityinto people‟s hands.” (Cabinet Office, 2010: 1). But“It will be challenging to break this entrenchedpublic belief that anti-social behaviour issomething that the police are left to deal with”(Hodgkinson and Tilley 2011: 296).
False economy?“For every $15,000 that we spendintervening in the lives ofeconomically and otherwisedisadvantaged kids in those earlierchapters, we save $80,000 in crime-related costs down the road. Even ifyou dont agree that theres a moralimperative that we do it, it justmakes economic sense.”(Dow, 2012)
“the introduction of a „Community Trigger‟will improve the services from localcouncils, the police and other partners tovictims and communities experiencingpersistent ASB.” (Home Office, 2012)
“Community as curriculum” (Professor Steve Wheeler, Plymouth University)
The „consequences concept‟ is a major part of theSTREETS programme and this strengthens its pro-social modelling approach.The STREETS providers sought to:“reinforce comments and actions which value noncriminal activities and associations” (Trotter, 2009:145). FLICKR @POWERBOOKTRANCE
Trust in the future?In May 2012 the WhitePaper, Putting victims first: moreeffective responses to antisocialbehaviour, was published toextensive media interest (HomeOffice, 2012). The headlines tendedto focus on the „death of the ASBO‟.Really?
ASB Research Group Participants:Angela Pasquill, Jean Darby, Dishan Asraf,Shamas Aziz, Sam Bartley, Donna Braithwaite,Angela Chadwick, Jade Conway, Marselle Davies,Emma Fort, Michael Gamble,James Haythornthwaite, Charlotte Hesketh,Nicola Joseph, Darren Kenny,Angela Mckeefery, Allan Shorrock, Saabir Patel,Trisha Williams, Rachael Woodward, Maria Croft,Olivia Clarkson, Sam Daley, Charlotte Flynn,Kirsty Holden, Tilly Hudson, Eve Westwell andHannah Postlethwaite.
ReferencesDow, D. (2012) Lessons from Death Row Inmates. URL(accessed 25 June 2012)http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/david_r_dow_lessons_from_death_row_inmates.htmlHome Office 2012Kelly, J. (2012) “ASBO: The end of an era.” URL (accessed 25May 2012) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18164426Morris, N. (2012) Crimbos replace Asbos – but will they rushchildren into custody? URL (accessed 24 May 2012)http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/crimbos-replace-asbos--but-will-they-rush-children-into-custody-7778907.htmlParfrement-Hopkins, J. and Hall, P. (2009) “Perceptions ofanti-social behaviour” in D. Moon and A. Walker (eds)Perceptions of crime and anti-social behaviour: Findings fromthe 2008/09 British Crime Survey. URL (accessed January2010) www.homeoffice.gov.ukTrotter, C. (2007) “Pro-Social Modelling” in G. McIvor and P.Raynor (eds) Developments in Social Work withOffenders, Research Highlights in Social Work with Offenders.London: Jessica Kingsley.