There seems to be a contradiction of opinion and statistics between anti-social behaviour and a survey of substantial numbers in the community, according to an article I recently read. A Deputy Chief Constable leading on anti-social behaviour pointed out that, according to last years crime survey, there has been a 30% reduction since 2007. On the other hand there was clear feeling in the community survey that the public actually felt like it had increased.
There is obviously the point about defining anti-social behaviour, although when we look at late night drinking, environmental damage, harassment in all forms and vulnerable individuals and household repeatedly targeted by young gangs these were the kind of incidents which would have been recorded in the past. However, I wonder if hate crimes, dangerous animals, cyber harassment and begging are taken into account when compiling these statistics.
I came across a website called asbhelp.co.uk that seems fairly new but concentrates on definitions, advice and legal explanation of anti-social behaviour. That seems a good place to start.
Something which I find particularly distressing and perhaps not prioritised highly enough, is using children for begging purposes. There was a town in the Midlands recently that focused on it’s market place, coordinating CCTV and volunteers in vans who, when people were observed dropping litter would activate loud speakers and embarrass them into becoming more civic minded. I’ve often wondered, especially when seeing children begging. I’ve no particular issue with any particular ethnic group. For me it’s just wrong and children have a right to childhood and not to be used by adults. If a public service poster campaign and other kinds of initiatives would help. Would it be helpful if you saw a poster which said “children should not take part in begging, this is a form of child abuse. If you see any begging please phone this number … “.
I’ve had discussions with several people on this recently and know there are several points of view. Let me know what you think. I’d like to gather more opinions on this as I personally feel that it is innately wrong to use children as Fagin did. In many cases substitute Fagin for their parents, and in my view that is child abuse ‘writ large’.