The Centre for Criminal Justice and Criminology and the School of Law

in association with The Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice, hosted a Symposium on Anti-Social Behaviour on 1st December 2010

The aim of the Symposium was to bring together academic, practitioner and policy perspectives on this pressing social issue, in the light of the announcement by Theresa May, Home Secretary, that Anti-Social Behaviour Orders were to be abolished. The event was chaired by Mrs Vivienne Sugar, Pro-Chancellor of Swansea University and was attended by staff from HM Prison Parc, Swansea and Bridgend Youth Offending Teams, the City of Swansea  Community Safety Team as well as staff and students from the University.  

Dr Simon Hoffman and Dr Stuart MacDonald

(School of Law, Swansea University): ‘Soft Speak and Big Sticks? Responsive Regulation and Youth Anti-Social Behaviour’

The focus of this presentation was on how the notion of a regulatory pyramid – a concept found in the literature on theories of regulation – has been understood and deployed in the context of youth anti-social behaviour.  It was argued that since the work on regulatory pyramids had business actors in mind, it cannot simply be straightforwardly transposed to young perpetrators of anti-social behaviour, whose circumstances and structural position are very different.  Moreover, the manner in which the concept has been deployed in the context of youth anti-social behaviour is at odds with key objectives identified in the regulatory literature.

Eddie Isles

Eddie Isles has worked in the field of youth justice since 1984.  During that time he has worked in residential, day care and community settings and has been the manager of Swansea Youth offending Service since 1999.  Swansea has developed a reputation for multi-agency co-operation in community safety and services for children and young people which have resulted in significant reductions in youth crime and anti-social behaviour. 

During 2009 Swansea introduced a Bureau to co-ordinate and enhance pre-court diversion.  Working to reduce first time entrants the Bureau embodies restorative practice, victim engagement, parental responsibility and participation by young people as central principles to intervention.  Eddie has been at the heart of developing prevention based methodologies linked to extending entitlement principles since devolution in 2000 established a distinctive Welsh policy for young people.

Professor Kevin Haines

(Centre for Criminal Justice and Criminology, Swansea University): ‘Youth Anti Social Behaviour: Looking Back, Looking Forward’

This presentation explored the impact of the introduction of ASBOs on the custodial sentencing of young people as an example of policy failure and root this in the self-serving attitudes of Government. Public attitudes towards young people and ASB were reviewed with reference to research conducted in Swansea as a springboard for exploring potential future approaches for responding to youth ASB.

Chief Superintendent Gwyn Thomas

(Dyfed Powys Police): ‘Improving the response to antisocial behaviour within a rural environment’

Chief Superintendent Thomas outlined how the response to antisocial behaviour has been improved by the implementation of an integrated approach through a strategic framework.  This framework places its focus on making a difference to the lives of people within the rural communities of Dyfed & Powys through improving:

  • Quality of Life
  • The feeling of Security & Safety
  • Public Confidence in the Police Service and its Partners
  • Social Cohesion

Ali Crossley

(Centre for Social Justice): ‘Preliminary findings of the CSJ’s Youth Justice Review’

In 2010, the Centre for Social Justice launched a wide-ranging review of the youth justice system in England and Wales. Key focuses included cause and prevention of youth crime, age, diversion, court process, custodial sentences, and resettlement. The review was led by a Working Group of eleven academics, practitioners and voluntary sector workers, including former chair of the Youth Justice Board, Professor Rod Morgan, and former prison governor of Ashfield YOI, Vicky O’Dea. The presentation focused on the broader environment in which anti-social behaviour occurs and outlined the Working Group’s early findings.

 

Jodie Croxall

(Centre for Innovative Ageing, College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University) and Dr Tracey Sagar (Centre for Criminal Justice and Criminology, Swansea University): ‘Street Sex Work as a Public Nuisance and Anti-Social Behaviour: Rhetoric, Legislation and Pragmatism’

Ms Croxall and Dr Sagar’s presentation focused on street sex work which is designated in law as both a public nuisance and anti-social behaviour. With reference to the dominance of a ‘public nuisance’ discourse that continues to shape the regulation of street based sex work, they described contemporary responses to street sex work at the local level. In particular, they expressed concerns regarding the potential for the use of bye-laws against sex workers and others who are castigated as anti-social subjects. 

Drawing on recent empirical research in Cardiff which suggests that the community may desire a less punitive and more pragmatic approach to street based sex work, they argued that local responses to street based sex work are driven by a ‘moral authoritarian’ central agenda but that this agenda may in fact be out of step with modern-day society's views and opinions on the sex industry.