Two major issues challenge UK justice system, study shows

Sep 24, 2010

Cardiff University policing experts are calling for a major re-think of the way police respond to anti-social behavior in communities across England and Wales.

In one of the most comprehensive studies of police responses to acts of anti-social behavior (ASB), Professor Martin Innes and Dr. Nicola Weston of the Universities’ Police Science Institute have identified two major issues which challenge current thinking across the police and criminal justice services.

Professor Innes, Director of the Universities’ Police Science Institute, who lead the study, said: “Firstly, aspects of the systems and processes used in many police forces for managing ASB have a negative impact upon victims and the public.

“In particular, where police seek to manage demand for their services through a robust ‘graded response’ policy, this can be interpreted very negatively by the public when they call the police about ASB issues.

“Secondly, we also found that some community safety partnerships appear to be too inward facing and are failing to deliver services that meet the needs of ASB victims in terms of stopping problems in a reasonable time-frame.”

The study also identified a number of positive elements of current police response - and identifies what works when managing ASB.

Professor Innes added: “Those police forces who performed best in the eyes of ASB victims and the public are those who include a number of measures including regularly briefing Neighbourhood Policing teams, response officers and CID thoroughly about ASB issues, and specific local problems.

“We also found those who use systematic intelligence processes to manage and co-ordinate their responses to ASB; and those forces who ensure that Policing teams are well equipped and resourced to engage in tactical and strategic problem-solving of ASB issues.”

By starting with the views of victims and the public about the effectiveness of the police management of ASB and working back from these, the study offers new insights in terms of what the police can do to reduce the social harm caused by ASB within and across communities.

The study integrated data from a survey of 5699 ASB victims, the British Crime Survey and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s assessment of system quality.

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More information: The report: Re-thinking the policing of anti-social behavior, was produced for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, alongside Ipsos MORI as part of the largest and most comprehensive studies of anti-social behavior. A full copy of the full report is available at: tinyurl.com/37dvpzt

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