The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the “new” approach to tackling anti-social behaviour outlined in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Despite it being difficult to ascertain whether such measures will be more inclusive and appropriate than those previously introduced – certainly at this early stage – the authors set out to evaluate the strengths, limitations and challenges of this “new” agenda and in doing so drawing upon the propositions insights from radical moral communitarianism in order to inform the discussion.
The paper takes the form of a conceptual analysis of government policy. The authors draw on the work of a number of key academics and commentators to enhance the discussion.
In many respects, the authors have rehearsed some familiar lines of argument and analysis. Indeed, many of New Labour's anti-social behaviour measures were in many cases counterproductive, particularly in the case of children and young people invariably increasing the likelihood of offending rather than curtailing it. Understanding this, the authors propose that it would appear logical where at all possible to deal with anti-social behaviour informally, that is, outside the formal anti-social behaviour framework and through the comprehensive balanced intervention proposed from a radical moral communitarian perspective which seeks to avoid formal criminalisation except as a last resort. With regard to the “new” anti-social behaviour measures the authors argue that rather than punishing the actions as a contempt of court practitioners need to devise suitable, more appropriate ways of dealing with the matter before them. The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act (2014) provides practitioners with the space to do this particularly with the process being streamlined and much of the previous bureaucracy removed.
By focusing on the introduction of the “new” anti-social behaviour measures the paper will be of use to local decision makers (i.e. Youth Offending Team practitioners, Police and Crime Commissioners, and Directors of Children's Services). The paper highlights some potential issues and ambiguities that practitioners working within the new anti-social behaviour framework may face.
The authors set out to critically reflect on the “new” powers set out in the recent Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act (2014). Nevertheless, the authors are not offering the paper as an alternative blueprint for dealing with anti-social behaviour but rather seeking to provoke further discussion on some of the potential issues and ambiguities the authors have identified within the new legislation. At the same time, the authors incorporate insights from the radical moral communitarian perspective which promotes a fairer, more equal world, based on mutual respect between all citizens, founded on the notion of commitment to and involvement in society.
Hopkins-Burke, R. and Creaney, S. (2014), "A “new” response to anti-social behaviour: early reflections on the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014", Safer Communities, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 161-170. https://doi.org/10.1108/SC-07-2014-0011
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