Defusing techniques can help you to challenge anti-social behaviour without making things worse. Approaching a situation in an aggressive or rude manner can create further problems later. For example, shouting ‘f*** off, or I’ll call the police’ at young people outside your home can be a risky move, and can create more problems. It may be successful in moving the young people along, but they could respond aggressively or retaliate at a later date.
For some people, the urge to intervene when they see behaviour they deem to be unacceptable leads them to rush into a situation without thinking. And it’s this approach that can escalate and cause injury.
So what can you do? Many of you will call the local Council, your social landlord, or the police – often via 999 – so that they can solve the problem for you. But this distracts services away from dealing with more serious crimes, only adding to the many problems within communities. If we all possessed the correct skills to defuse low-level anti-social behaviour and neighbourhood disputes, then many calls to local services would be prevented, situations which could escalate will not, co-operation between the public and the police and other services would increase, and anti-social behaviour would be reduced.
The principles that govern the police state that they are ordinary members of our community, but that we are paying them to spend more time upholding the laws for which we all have responsibility. We all have a role to play in tackling crime and improving safety in our communities.