To explore the way in which responses to urban disorder have become part of the anti-social behaviour (ASB herein) toolkit following the 2011 disorders in England. In particular, the purpose of this paper is to unpack the government’s response to the riots through the use of eviction. It is argued that the boundaries of what constitutes ASB, and the geographical scope of the new powers, are being expanded resulting in a more pronounced unevenness of behaviour-control mechanisms being deployed across the housing tenures.
Using a qualitative research design, 30 in-depth interviews were undertaken with housing, ASB, and local police officers alongside a number of other practitioners working in related fields. These practitioners were based in communities across east London, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester. This was augmented with a desk-based analysis of key responses and reports from significant official bodies, third sector and housing organisations.
Findings from the research show that responses to the 2011 riots through housing and ASB-related mechanisms were disproportionate, resulting in a rarely occurring phenomenon being unnecessarily overinflated. This paper demonstrates, through the lens of the 2011 riots specifically, how the definition of ASB continues to be expanded, rather than concentrated, causing noticeable conflicts within governmental approaches to ASB post-2011.
This research was undertaken as part of a PhD study and therefore constrained by financial and time implications. Another limitation is that the “riot-clause” being considered here has not yet been adopted in practice. Despite an element of supposition, understanding how the relevant authorities may use this power in the future is important nonetheless.
Much effort was expended by scholars to analyse the causes of the 2011 riots in an attempt to understand why people rioted and what this says about today’s society more broadly. Yet very little attention has been focused on particular legislative responses, such as the additional riot clause enacted through the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. This paper focuses on this particular response to explore more recent ways in which people face being criminalised through an expansion of behaviour defined as ASB.
The author is indebted to the two reviewers and the editor of this special issue for their insightful comments and critique that have helped develop this paper. The author is also grateful to John Flint for comments on earlier versions. This research was funded by the ESRC as part of the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre network Beyond the Riots. This paper draws on research conducted as part of an ESRC-funded PhD studentship (Grant Reference ES/J500215/1).
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited