What is anti-social behaviour?

Anti-social behaviour is classed as an act of disorder, which intimidates or frightens members of the public. The Home Office refers to sixteen categories of anti-social behaviour, ranging from littering and disputes, to more serious acts such as drug dealing and prostitution. According to figures collated by HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate Of Constabulary), the police recorded 3.3 million incidents of anti-social behaviour in 2010/11. Many, such as serious assault or criminal behaviour do require assistance from police officers. However, some, such as those involving rowdy behaviour and vandalism, could be dealt with or prevented by neighbours in the community.

Many people in the UK will not get involved when faced with an anti-social behaviour situation. Some don’t want to intervene because they are too frightened, lack confidence, or do not know what to do. However, 60% of Germans admit they would intervene to stop a gang of children vandalising a bus shelter – whereas only 30% of British people say they would – the lowest response out of the six European countries surveyed (ADT, 2006). And these attitudes need to change so we can build a stronger society.

It’s important to remember that you’re not necessarily going to get hurt or be prosecuted for intervening. The media often reports the death of a ‘good Samaritan’, but if you can assess and respond to the risks of a situation, you can identify how to defuse it safely and quickly, without getting hurt.