A survey has revealed that if witness to anti-social behaviour, two thirds of people would walk by rather than intervene. But in the UK’s permissive society, is it really any wonder?
The Home Office describes anti-social behaviour (ASB) as ‘any aggressive, intimidating or destructive activity that damages or destroys another person’s quality of life.’ The moniker of ‘ASB’ deflects attention away from what it often actually is: criminal activity. The police offer an extensive list of examples of anti-social behaviour, some of which are flagrantly criminal, if not immediately connected to criminal activity. 
Anti-social behaviour is nothing new, it has just become more prominent since successive governments are progressively worse at curtailing it. Their efforts to foster a socially democratic ‘tolerant’ and permissive society have been enacted simply because they have not only lost control of the systems used to regulate it (such as the police), but also because they do not want to pay for such systems to be repaired, let alone maintained. Social democracy is the cheap product of cheap thinking.
It is little wonder then that Mr Cameron – among the country’s leading un-intellectuals – allows others to think for him. His favoured think-tank, ‘Policy Exchange’ has revealed that two-thirds of the public would walk on by if they saw a group of teenagers drinking and issuing verbal abuse . Their suggested solution to this problem is to create ‘Citizen Police Academies’ to empower the public, to make them confident in approaching and performing a citizen’s arrest on such groups if necessary.
Their suggestion is made on the basis that 36% of adults would be interested in attending free classes with police officers and volunteers to learn about combating anti-social behaviour and how to avoid danger when walking home alone. This is not an impressive statistic. The word ‘free’ probably accounts for half of this number – the thrill of getting something for nothing always evokes disproportionate enthusiasm, but such thrills often exhaust themselves in equal measure. So, too, the adoption of a ‘Citizen Police Academy’ would be the governmental equivalent of that same ‘something-for-nothing’ excitement, with the same disappointing returns.
Policy Exchange are quoted as remarking that “Citizen police academies are one way of helping the public feel more confident about their role in preventing criminal activity.”  But this wishful thinking ignores the real consequences of people exhausted by inaction on ASB, especially when cases like those of Gary Newlove are etched in the public conscience. Mr Newlove was attacked outside his house in Warrington, Cheshire, on 10 August 2007, having gone outside to confront a gang of youths who were vandalising his car. Having had his head kicked like a football, he died in hospital two days later. Indeed, there are a litany of cases where those who have intervened to prevent ASB have themselves been prosecuted. Such an imbalance in justice is as much a deterrent as the threat of violence.
And all this forgets the simple point: the electorate pays the police to do this job. Unfortunately, because of under-funding, cuts and mismanagement, seeing police on patrol in a preventative capacity is a rare occurrence. More often they are often assigned to come and clear up after a crime has been committed or even in progress. No wonder the scum that intimidate and threaten are emboldened by the lack of visible authority.
Who knows if Mr Cameron will adopt the thinking formulated by his sub-contracted brain, but whether he does or not, he is just as guilty of propagating the problem of ASB as Labour were before him. A citizen’s arrest on characters such as Mr Cameron and his left-wing tribe would be of inestimable and long term value.
© thepanopticonblog, 2012
- 1. Nuisance neighbours; Vandalism; Graffiti; Intimidation; Drinking on the street; Litter and fly-tipping; Off road motorbike nuisance; Abandoned vehicles; Substance misuse such as glue sniffing; Begging; Prostitution related activity; Noise coming from alarms, pubs, clubs, business or industry; Inappropriate use of fireworks; rowdy or inconsiderate behaviour; Hoax calls to the emergency services; Pubs or clubs serving alcohol after hours; Malicious communication; Hate incidents where abuse involves race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability; Firearms incidents such as use of an imitation weapon.
- 2. ‘Anti-social behaviour: Two-thirds would ‘walk on by”. BBC News. 12 December 2012.
- 3. Ibid.